4 years, 5 months ago
Jeff Knox explains why the upcoming national election is important, but in the process, I think he proves a corollary (or maybe even contrary) point.
What all of this demonstrates is that Republican appointees to the Supreme Court are rarely “conservative” stalwarts and historically display only a 50 percent chance of supporting traditionally conservative positions, while Democratic appointees are historically 100 percent reliable in backing the Democratic agenda. Even Robert Bork, who is considered an ultra-conservative jurist and whose failed confirmation hearings were so contentious that his name has entered the vernacular as a verb (meaning to block a nomination by defamation), has frequently expressed an opinion that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to arms. I had the opportunity to argue the issue with Judge Bork himself on a radio program in the late ’80s and was sorely disappointed with his position.
The Supreme Court currently breaks down like this: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79 years old and continues to surprise prognosticators (including me) who have been predicting her imminent retirement for years. Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy are both 76 years old, and both appear to be in good health for their age. Stephen Breyer is 74 and also healthy. Clarence Thomas is 64. Samuel Alito is 62. Sonia Sotomayor is 58. John Roberts is 57, and Elena Kagan is 52.
It is extremely likely that at least one of these justices will retire within the next four years, and it’s quite possible that as many as three could step down. If Barack Obama is re-elected, it is a virtual surety that any justice he appoints will be relatively young, staunchly “liberal” and have an unfavorable view of the Second Amendment. If Democrats retain control of the Senate, confirmation of an Obama appointee is also almost guaranteed. Even if Republicans manage to take control of the Senate, the odds are almost nil that any but the most extreme radical would be rejected.
If Romney is elected, the odds of him appointing a pro-Second Amendment conservative are no better than 50-50. A Democrat-controlled Senate reduces those odds to somewhere between 25 and 30 percent, while a Republican-controlled Senate raises the odds to around 60 percent. In a best-case scenario, the likelihood of seeing reliable, pro-Second Amendment justices seated on the Supreme Court are not great, but each step away from that best-case reduces that likelihood dramatically.
Whether our second amendment rights are further codified or eroded in the coming years is yet to be seen. Ruth Ginsburg sees reversal of Heller Versus D.C. on the horizon with a “future, wiser court.” But that’s only part of the battle. In the future, local politics may be even more important, since the federal government is only one guarantor of our rights as firearms owners and users.
If the particular state in which you reside is unfriendly to firearms rights, they may have Supreme Court decisions upon which to base their intrusions. But if more friendly to our rights, at least there is a battle to be waged between states and and intrusive federal government.
This isn’t determinative, and it doesn’t obviate gun rights problems, but it does give us a firmer foundation upon which remediation of federal problems may occur, even if difficult and even if the fight is a long one.