Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, President Trump promised a crowd over the weekend that he’d be nominating a woman for the open seat. This morning, the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump will announce his nominee on Friday or Saturday.
Mr. Trump maintained that the replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer at the age of 87, should happen swiftly. “We won the election and elections have consequences,” he said Monday morning on Fox News. “We have plenty of time.”
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump nominee on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, is reportedly one of the the President’s two front-runners for replacing Justice Ginsburg. While she’s only been on the 7th Circuit for about three years, she seems to have her head mostly screwed on straight when it comes to the Second Amendment.
As the AP writes . . .
She has long expressed sympathy with a mode of interpreting the Constitution, called originalism, in which justices try to decipher original meanings of texts in assessing if someone’s rights have been violated. Many liberals oppose that strict approach, saying it is too rigid and doesn’t allow the Constitution to change with the times.
Barrett’s fondness for original texts was on display in a 2019 dissent in a gun-rights case in which she argued a person convicted of a nonviolent felony shouldn’t be automatically barred from owning a gun. All but a few pages of her 37-page dissent were devoted to the history of gun rules for convicted criminals in the 18th and 19th centuries.
That dissent was issued in Kanter v. Barr. Barrett dissented from the majority which held that a felony conviction for even a non-violent crime — Medicare fraud, in this case — barred gun ownership.
In the opening paragraph of her dissent (which starts here) she held:
History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. Nor have the parties introduced any evidence that founding-era legislatures imposed virtue-based restrictions on the right; such restrictions applied to civic rights like voting and jury service, not to individual rights like the right to possess a gun. In 1791—and for well more than a century afterward— legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety.
I would prefer that Judge Barrett had skipped the whole dangerousness argument. After all, if you can be trusted to walk the streets, you can be trusted with a firearm. Something more along the lines of ‘you have served your time, your civil rights are restored’ might have been better.
Still, in her stance on the gun rights of non-violent felons, she is far better than most other judges when it comes to the the supporting natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right to own and carry the weapon of your choice.
Barrett is only 48 years old and, if appointed and confirmed, could serve on the Court for three decades or more. America’s gun owners and those who support the right to keep and bear arms could do (and have done) a lot worse.