Sotomayor Needs to Answer For Anti-Gun Views

This week a federal appeals court held that the Second Amendment does not apply to state or city gun laws. Supporters of Judge Sonia Sotomayor incorrectly argue that this affirms her recent gun-control case. Now the NRA is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, and in doing so heats up the gun-rights issue to potentially become the dominant topic in Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings.

On June 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit handed down its decision in NRA v. Chicago. The city of Chicago has a ban on handguns almost as severe as the one invalidated by the Supreme Court last year in D.C. v. Heller. The National Rifle Association filed suit, seeking to have the Chicago gun ban struck down.

The Seventh Circuit held that the Second Amendment right to bear arms does not apply to state or city laws. All three judges on the panel hearing the case were appointed by Republican presidents. In January, Sotomayor was on a three-judge panel from the Second Circuit that similarly held that the Second Amendment affects only federal law, not state or local law. Supporters of Sotomayor are touting the Chicago ruling as proof that her Second Circuit case, Maloney v. Cuomo, was a mainstream opinion, arguing that the Seventh Circuit agrees with her.

But that’s not exactly correct. It’s true that both courts reached the same conclusion. It’s also fair to say that this is not a “pro-gun” opinion, so gun owners shouldn’t be thrilled with it. But it’s not an “anti-gun” ruling, either. The circuit court here released a nine-page analysis delving into this issue in an even-handed manner, written by one of the best-regarded appellate judges in the nation.

Originally, the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government. Then during the 1900s, the Supreme Court began applying (or “incorporating”) most of the Bill of Rights to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Before that time, the Supreme Court had held back in 1876, and again in 1886, that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states. But it never had an occasion to revisit the Second Amendment during the 1900s incorporation cases. It also did not need to do so last year in the Heller case because Washington, D.C. is a federal enclave, not a state, and is therefore directly controlled by the Bill of Rights. Read more

Source: Fox News Blog

COMMENT