The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, Gun Owners of America, and the Second Amendment Foundation have all come out against the nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Barack Obama nominated Garland, 63, to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13. He was appointed to the appeals court in 1995 by President Bill Clinton and has been chief justice of the court in Washington since 2013.
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement, “With Justice Scalia’s tragic passing, there is no longer a majority of support among the justices for the fundamental, individual right to own a firearm for self-defense. Four justices believe law-abiding Americans have that right—and four justices do not. Obama has already nominated two Supreme Court justices who oppose the right to own firearms, and there is absolutely no reason to think he has changed his approach this time.
“In fact, a basic analysis of Merrick Garland’s judicial record shows that he does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Therefore, the National Rifle Association, on behalf of our 5 million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country, strongly opposes the nomination of Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court.” Gun Owners of America said Wednesday that it would oppose the nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because he “is not only anti-gun, he supports the ability of a president to illegally use executive power to advance liberal causes.” “If Garland were confirmed, we can expect to see more gun registration, more gun bans, more limitations on ammunition—and all of it would be approved by the Supreme Court,” said the group’s executive director, Erich Pratt. “As a practical matter, good people will go to prison for exercising their constitutionally-protected rights.” Pratt added that in 2007, Garland voted to reverse a D.C. Circuit Court decision striking down Washington’s handgun ban as unconstitutional. A three-judge panel had ruled against the ban in what became known as the Heller case.
Seven years earlier, Garland backed a Clinton administration move to maintain the registration of gun owners in NRA v. Reno. His vote in the McDonald case supported the White House’s efforts to use the instant check to illegally retain the names of gun owners for six months.
Both decisions were later struck down by the Supreme Court in 5-4 decisions. In the Heller case, Scalia cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion, the Daily Signal reports.
“Hence, we don’t have to speculate as to how Garland would vote on Heller if confirmed to the Supreme Court,” Pratt said. “He’s already voted against Heller once before, thereby showing he’d effectively rip the Second Amendment from the Constitution.” The founder of the Bellevue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation, Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, said, “This is not a good nomination and Judge Garland should not be confirmed.” President Obama nominated Garland, who is the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to fill the seat left vacant by the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, author of the landmark 2008 Second Amendment ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller. Scalia was considered a giant on the court and one of its finest conservative voices.
On the other hand, “Judge Garland voted to grant an en banc hearing to Heller after the three judge panel struck down the District of Columbia’s gun ban law. The only reason to do so would be to overturn the pro Second Amendment ruling. That was hostile to gun rights.” Gottlieb said, “Those of us on the front lines of the Second Amendment battle have warned for the past eight years that the right to keep and bear arms can live or die on a single vote, and nothing makes that more clear than today’s nomination. I hope the Senate, if it takes up this nomination, promptly rejects it.”