The National Rifle Association on Thursday publicly opposed the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, telling senators their votes could impact whether the powerful gun rights' lobby endorses them for re-election.
The public statement follows a week of private grumbling among some conservatives and Republican lawmakers that the NRA was staying on the sidelines in the battle to block President Obama's second Supreme Court pick.
On Tuesday, the NRA said was concerned about some of Ms. Kagan's view on Second Amendment issues but planned to wait until the Senate hearing continued or concluded before taking a position. The group took a similar approach during last year's confirmation hearing for Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
"Other than declaring war, neither house of Congress has a more solemn responsibility than the Senate's role in confirming justices to the U.S. Supreme Court," said the NRA letter to lawmakers. "Americans have been watching to see whether this nominee — if confirmed — would respect the Second Amendment or side with those who have declared war on the rights of America's 80 million gun owners."
Ms. Kagan wrapped up three days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The panel is hearing from outside witnesses on Thursday but is not slated to vote on the nomination until after the weeklong July 4 congressional recess.
The letter also stated Ms. Kagan, appointed by President Obama, has: "repeatedly demonstrated a clear hostility to the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution."
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