Obama Court Pick Hostile to 2nd Amendment
D.C. Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland, the President's pick to replace the late justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, isn't likely to go too far (if Senate Republicans are true to their word). The Independence Institute's Dave Kopel wrote this brief about Garland, and his views on the Second Amendment, back in 2008. It's worth reading again today:
Merrick Garland is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He could be counted on not only to oppose Second Amendment rights in general, but even to nullify explicit congressional statutes that protect those rights.
In 2007, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit ruled against the D.C. handgun ban in the case of Parker v. District of Columbia (which was the name of the case that eventually became District of Columbia v. Heller when it went before the Supreme Court). The D.C. government asked for a rehearing of the case, before all 10 judges of the D.C. Circuit.
Six judges voted not to rehear the case, while four judges voted for a rehearing, presumably because they disagreed with the three-judge panel that had ruled against the handgun ban. Garland was one of the four judges who wanted a chance to validate the handgun ban.
In 2000, Garland was on a three-judge panel that heard the case of NRA v. Reno. In that case, the Janet Reno Department of Justice had flouted the congressional statutes that prohibit the federal government from compiling a registration list of gun owners, and which required the destruction of national instant check (NICS) records of lawful, approved gun purchases.
Judge Garland voted to let Reno get away with it. He said that registering all the people who were approved by NICS was permissible because Reno was not registering every gun owner in the country. And he said it was fine for Reno to keep gun buyer records for six months because although Congress had said the records must be destroyed, it did not say “immediately.”
Garland's views on the Second Amendment, and government power in general, are very troubling. Again, if Senate Republicans are true to their word, he won't get so much as a committee hearing.
But recall that we're dealing with Senate Republicans, and they have an uncanny knack for bending with the wind.