- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 9, 2010

President Obama poses a real and present danger to the Second Amendment, and he’s working to pack the Supreme Court with justices who will undermine Americans’ gun rights.

Mr. Obama didn’t fess up to this radical agenda when running for the highest office in the land. “I have said consistently that I believe that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and that was the essential decision that the Supreme Court came down on,” Mr. Obama told Fox News in June 2008. Despite the campaign rhetoric, Mr. Obama is appointing judges who strongly oppose that position. The most recent pick, Elena Kagan, ran much of President Clinton’s war on guns from 1995 to 1999.

When Ms. Kagan served as Mr. Clinton’s deputy domestic policy adviser, she was a feverish proponent of gun control. From gunlock mandates to gun-show regulations, she was instrumental in pushing anti-gun policies, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Every court nomination counts. Two years ago, the Supreme Court barely mustered a narrow 5-4 majority to strike down the extreme District of Columbia gun ban. Should Justice Anthony Kennedy or one of the four more conservative justices retire or die while Mr. Obama is in office, the high court likely will undo such narrow victories for the Second Amendment. While Ms. Kagan was nominated to replace the liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, and thus won’t swing the court in a new direction, her being there will necessitate that gun owners concentrate more than ever on fighting outright gun bans.


Ms. Kagan’s defenders acknowledge her liberal political views but claim that as a judge, the former Harvard Law School dean will somehow manage to separate her judgments from her political opinions. The hitch is that her legal views correspond with her political views. When Ms. Kagan clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall, she wrote, “I’m not sympathetic” to the claim that “the District of Columbia’s firearms statutes violate [an individual’s] constitutional right to ‘keep and bear Arms.’ “

Her memos to Justice Marshall foreshadow an activist judge who wouldn’t hesitate to fall back on her own personal views to override policy decisions made by elected officials. She clearly counseled Justice Marshall on how he should rule based upon whether she thought policies made “sense.” Take her advice in the case of Robertson v. Methow Valley Citizens Council, in which an appeals court stopped federal agencies from issuing a permit to build a ski lodge in a national forest. Ms. Kagan might feel that stopping ski resorts from such building makes “policy sense,” but that isn’t the job of a judge.

Ms. Kagan is Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s soul sister when it comes to gun control. Last year, during her confirmation hearings, Ms. Sotomayor insisted the Supreme Court had never found that an individual right to self-defense exists. Two of Justice Sotomayor’s own appeals court decisions came to the same conclusion. One ruling denied there is an individual right to self-defense. In another case, even after the Supreme Court struck down the District’s gun ban, Judge Sotomayor opined that any restrictions on self-defense would pass constitutional muster so long as politicians who passed it said they had a good reason.

Senators must realize that a vote for Ms. Kagan for the Supreme Court is another vote against gun rights.