Gorsuch Proves His Legal Acumen and Affirms Heller During Hearings

By Dave Dolbee published on in News

The District of Columbia v. Heller, was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to federal enclaves and protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

That significance was not lost when Judge Neil Gorsuch gave America a glimpse of the sort of Supreme Court justice he would be, in his testimony during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. His nomination will now go to the full Senate. Here is the full release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Judge Neil Gorsuch during confirmation hearings

By Larry Keane

Neil Gorsuch is bold, principled, prepared and most importantly, a zealous adherent to the concept of originalism. That’s good news for America’s Second Amendment and American gun owners.

Judge Gorsuch endured marathon questioning in three days of hearings before the Judiciary Committee where early on, he was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) whether or not the Second Amendment was unlimited and if it was ambiguous. Judge Gorsuch didn’t take the bait. Instead, he demonstrated that he is, has been and will continue to be an unrelenting student of the law.

Sen. Feinstein questioned Judge Gorsuch on his views on the District of Columbia. v. Heller, the landmark 2008 decision establishing firearms ownership as an individual right. She quoted Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion that noted the Second Amendment is subject to regulation and posed the question, “Do you agree with that statement that under the Second Amendment weapons that are most useful in military service, M-16 rifles, and the like, may be banned?”

Judge Gorsuch’s answer showed that he wasn’t viewing law through the lens of personal opinion. Rather, he would apply legal statue and precedent as guiding principles.

Heller makes clear the standard that we judges are supposed to apply,” he answered. “The question is whether it’s a gun in common use for self-defense and that may be subject to reasonable regulation. That’s the test as I understand it. There’s lots of ongoing litigation about which weapons qualify under those standards, and I can’t prejudge that litigation.”

Sen. Feinstein wasn’t done. She pressed Judge Gorsuch on whether he agreed with Justice Scalia.

“Whatever’s in Heller is the law, and I follow the law,” Gorsuch said, adding, “It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, senator, respectfully, it’s a matter of it being the law and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”

Judge Gorsuch was right. He knew there are cases likely to be brought to him when he’s sitting on the bench, most likely Kolbe v. Hogan, in which the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2013 Maryland law that banned modern sporting rifles and standard capacity magazines.

Sen. Feinstein pressed further, essentially asking Judge Gorsuch to render an opinion on the case even before it was posed to the Supreme Court. Sen. Feinstein cited Judge Harvie Wilkinson’s opinion that the Second Amendment is ambiguous.

Judge Gorsuch, though, was clear. “Heller is the law of the land.”

The teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing by the opposition to Judge Gorsuch isn’t over. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced he would follow through on his threat of a filibuster when Judge Gorsuch’s nomination comes to the Senate floor for a vote. This would set up a move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to invoke the “nuclear option,” lowering the vote count a filibuster-proof 60 votes to a simple majority. It was the same procedure Sen. Schumer previously championed to appoint lower-level judges.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote April 3 and a full Senate vote on Judge Gorsuch could follow in early April. Urge your senators to vote for Judge Gorsuch. He’s the justice the Supreme Court and America needs—one who is wedded to the law.

Are you in favor of Gorsuch being confirmed to the Supreme Court? Do you think he will be good for gun owners and gun rights? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (15)

  • Bill S.

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    The problem here is Judges don’t make laws their responsibility is to apply the Constitution to a laws and if they violate the Constitution then they are no longer laws.

    Reply

  • fair

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    The Heller decision is not what it’s cracked up to be. The Heller decision said that “weapons that are most useful in military service—M16 rifles and the like” could be banned. Can anyone read plain English? Several courts have said AR-15 can be banned. The Heller opinion, that all gun owners are crowing about, says AR-15’s could be banned.

    The new Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch has said he will uphold Heller. Gorsuch said he will explicitly uphold legal precedence. Gorsuch, when pressed by Feinstein about banning AR-15’s danced all around the question WITHOUT giving a definitive answer. I predict that Gorsuch will be an unmitigated disaster for gun rights. Get ready for your AR-15’s to be banned.

    Reply

    • HJB

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      The AR-15 hasn’t been adopted by any military in the world, and certainly wouldn’t be most useful in military service since it isn’t select fire. There isn’t any standing for it to be banned.

      Reply

    • VAB

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      No one has read the ENTIRE sentence of Scalia’s opinion: “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service–M-16 rifles and the like–may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause.” In other words, if weapons like the M-16 can be banned, then the first part of the Second Amendment is completely separated from the main clause, which is the part that says that our right to own, possess, handle, carry and use arms shall not be infringed upon. As such, you can’t have it both ways: you can’t ban something that is in fact protected from being banned.

      I’m not going to post the remainder of the what Scalia wrote, as anyone can look that up. But the overall all opinion says that the SA right can’t be reinterpreted. In other words, it says exactly what it means, regardless of what new weapons have been developed.

      Reply

    • fair

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      I hope you are right, but judges are good at cherry picking other judge’s opinion laws, so they can write their own opinion law. Nothing is safe or sacred in America’s courts.

      Reply

  • Hoppin Jonny

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    We have a real problem. The Heller decision said that “wwapons of war” were not protected by the Second Amendment, while US v. Miller said tht sawed off shotguns were not protected precisely because they are not weapons of war: “Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense.” The Founders writings are quite clear that the purpose of the Second Amendment is restrain the federal government, that is that it is intended to threaten irregular warfare. The Heller decision, far from being an endorsement of the founders intent, does nothing more than recognize the Second Amendment as an individual right which is nothing more than the Cruikshank decision did.

    Reply

  • herneupont

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    He appears to me to be arrogant and looking down on his questioners, By the way I was a former truck driver and if I was freezing in the cab of a truck and someone told me stay with the trailer or get to safety. Duh .There are other judges who are not radical who would be better for the job Seems to put menial laws above human life. Hello Uncle Adolf.

    Reply

  • jim

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    Yes, Neil Girsuch said that Heller is the law of the land. IT IS NOT; it is the verdict passed down in the Heller case. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE 2ND AMENDMENT THAT STATES THAT SAID AMENDMENT CAN BE REGULATED!

    On an aside, I read this same article in “America Uncensored” yesterday.

    Reply

    • Chris H

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      Regulation = infringement. The amendment does mention infringement.

      Reply

  • rt66paul

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    Of course he will be good for the 2nd as well as all of them. He is a real judge, one that will use the law and interpret it as it states. He is a student of history, legal history, and will rule that way. He is a true American judge. God help us if he dcides he is above the law and starts using his seat for policy. Dems, Reps, and all Independants ought to come together and support him. Those that don’t – we know they are not for the American way.

    Reply

  • Lance Cochrane

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    The Framers of our constitution and bill of rights were brilliant.
    The liberal democrats are determined to try and fundamentally change this country founded on freedoms.
    I say don’t wait for the obstructionist to further muddy the waters and retard the system down to a snail’s pace in legal wrangling.
    Go nuclear and get Judge Gorsuch on the bench ASAP…

    Reply

  • Robert Kucera

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    we need a judge who follows the constitution and the laws of the land,not someone who follows the need to make changes and
    bow down to the winers

    Reply

  • Mitch

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    Judge Gorsuch is not somebody that can by Psychologically manipulated by the Democrats… If he had wavered at all, I doubt schumer would have threatened a filibuster…

    They were praying he would give a neutral answer, and their prayers are unanswered, much like the last 8 years…

    I would hate to be the blood pressure cuff belonging to feinstein, pelosi, schumer, boxer, tester, clinton, obama etc…

    Reply

  • JOSEPH MAFFEI

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    Please note that while uber anti gun Diana Feinstein was mayor of SF, she carried a gun in her purse “for self defense”. When confronted about it (permits and such being what they are :-), she stated that only “important people” like herself apparently are good to carry, NOT the general public.

    Shortly after that revelation, she ditched the pistol, and hired 2 gun packing body guards. WOW!!!!

    Reply

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