June 01, 2009
Discussion Topic: On Sotomayor and Your Guns
By Dave Hurteau
You’ve gotta to love our political system and the media’s coverage of it: When neither can offer clarity—and they almost never can—there’s always at least comedy, usually unintended and in the form of farce. President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor seems a good example:
The right says Sotomayor wants to ban guns. The left says she has merely upheld “settled law.” And it all stems from nunchucks. Nunchucks!
Here’s a sampling of the latest:
From Fox News:
Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow with the Family Research Council [who also ran unsuccessfully to head the Republican National Committee], called Obama's nomination a "declaration of war against America's gun owners. . . .”
“That puts our Second Amendment freedoms at risk," he said. "What she's basically saying is that your hometown can decide to suppress your Second Amendment freedoms."
The chief concern is her position in the 2009 Maloney v. Cuomo case, in which the court examined a claim by a New York attorney that a New York law that prohibited possession of nunchucks violated his Second Amendment rights. The Appeals Court affirmed the lower court's decision that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states.
From Sound Politics:
Th[e] concept [of selective incorporation] is important to understand in regards to the Second Amendment, and I'll explain it briefly: the Fourteenth Amendment says that "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." The Supreme Court, however, decided last century that which "privileges or immunities" the state cannot abridge are to be decided selectively by the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court has never "incorporated" the Second Amendment.
Now, I am not saying that Sotomayor was correct; another court this year in Nordyke v. King came to a different conclusion (that the "test" for selective incorporation also means the Second Amendment should be incorporated). But it's all guesswork . . . [and] Sotomayor's legal reasoning in this case is sensible, according to precedent.
From Fox Nation:
She Wants To Ban Guns
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor ruled in January 2009 that states do not have to obey the Second Amendment’s commandment that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
In a May 28 headline, The Fox Nation baselessly claimed that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor "Wants to Ban Guns." The headline linked to a May 28 CNSNews.com article that made no mention of Sotomayor expressing or indicating a desire to "ban guns."
So what do you make of it all? Here are some question to consider:
Is New York City’s prohibition on nunchucks the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard of? What’s next? A ban on frying pans, candlesticks, and baseball bats?
Did anyone really expect President Obama to nominate a gun-rights advocate?
Is Sotomayor’s position in the Maloney case reason to block her nomination?
Do you think she’ll be approved?