"Supreme Court Hangs On Election": Do you feel lucky?
By Chad D. Baus
Supporters of Barack Obama's attempt to rewrite the history of his anti-gun record say voters need not worry about losing their gun rights, thanks to the great victory Second Amendment advocates enjoyed in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Leaving aside for a moment questions over why Obama, who now claims to agree with the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision, spoke in favor of the D.C. gun ban before the ruling, and why he refused to sign the amicus brief signed by Sen. John McCain and 54 more of his colleagues in the Senate (as well as by Vice President Dick Cheney and 250 House members) a huge question still remains.
What is the future of Heller after the expected three appointments the next President will get to make for the U.S. Supreme Court?
"A President Obama or a President McCain will likely be handed an opportunity to affect the makeup of the Supreme Court that is unprecedented in our history," said Wendy Long, chief counsel for the Judicial Confirmation Network, which was active in generating public support for the confirmations of Roberts and Alito.
Obama, supported by a strongly Democratic Senate, could be presented with three openings during his first term, said Walter Dellinger, a prolific Supreme Court practitioner who was acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration.
He said it likely that Justices John Paul Stevens, 88, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, and David H. Souter, 69, would step down in the next four years if Obama were elected.
"President Obama is going to be able, I think, to name whoever he wishes to the court and have that person confirmed," Dellinger said last week during a discussion at the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William and Mary Law School.
And just what kind of justices would Obama appoint? Since he now claims to agree with the Heller decision, we should therefore assume he would appoint justices who could be expected to defend the Second Amendment on the high court, right?
Again, from story:
Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, known for its analytic approach to the law, and would rely on his own thoughts on constitutional theories, said Cass R. Sunstein, a former colleague now at Harvard Law School and an informal Obama adviser.
"He knows these issues," Sunstein said. "I'd be very surprised if he wasn't extremely involved" in choosing nominees," Sunstein said, though he added that he has not had conversations with Obama about the qualities the Democrat would seek in a nominee.
Obama opposed Roberts and Alito and has mentioned Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer as models...
That's right - Obama opposes justices who guaranteed victory for the Second Amendment in Heller, and plans to model his picks for the Supreme Court after Justices Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer, each of whom were in the minority on the D.C. gun ban case.
Can supposedly pro-gun voters who are planning to vote for Obama honestly believe their own claims that the Senator from Chicago is not a threat to the Second Amendment?
Obama said in a speech this year that...on the important constitutional issues that divide the justices, "adherence to precedent and rules of construction will only get you through 25 miles of the marathon," Obama said.
"That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works and the depth and breadth of one's empathy."
McCain mocked such standards in a speech in May on the role of the judiciary, calling them "vague words" that "attempt to justify judicial activism."
McCain said he would appoint judges "who have a proven record of strict interpretation of the Constitution of the United States."
The Judicial Confirmation Network's Long said McCain's speech offered more details than "any presidential candidate in history" about the qualities he would look for in judges.
To gun owners who are considering gambling their Second Amendment rights on Obama's campaign rhetoric about gun rights because you are hoping for a better paycheck, I have just one question for you.
Do you feel lucky?
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.