-- Vote May Come as Early as Wednesday
Any doubt that President Obama is more anti-Second Amendment than perhaps any president in history can be laid to rest in the light of the characters he has nominated to the federal judiciary.
Obama’s latest nominee for a U.S. District Court post is John McConnell, a Providence, Rhode Island trial lawyer. In terms of being an activist for the far left, McConnell is right in line with Obama’s Supreme Court picks—Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
It comes as no surprise that leading gun control proponents in the Senate support McConnell: he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to liberal, anti-gun candidates over the years, including Obama and Rhode Island’s two senators.
In fact, it appears that McConnell’s chief qualifications for this post are his generous contributions to liberal candidates and his long relationship with former Rhode Island attorney general and current Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse.
However, even in a world where political backers are often selected to fill openings for judgeships and other federal jobs, the size of McConnell’s contributions sets him apart from other nominees. In 2008 alone, for example, McConnell gave over $120,000 to Democrat candidates.
McConnell’s views on the Constitution are also extremely troubling. In written questions that were part of McConnell’s confirmation hearings, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked the nominee if he believed the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights protected fundamental rights. McConnell responded evasively and refused to declare what he considered to be fundamental, individual liberties.
Of course, McConnell repeatedly insisted that he would be “bound by applicable Supreme Court and First Circuit precedent” on Second Amendment issues. But nothing in the Heller and McDonald decisions necessarily preclude an anti-gun ideologue from ruling that almost any gun law short of a total ban on firearms—including gun owner registration, purchasing limits, waiting periods, private sale background checks, and more—is consistent with the Constitution.
We’ve heard this tune before. Recall the confirmation hearings of Sonia Sotomayor, in which the Senate, and the American people, were assured that she accepted the Court’s ruling in Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.
Yet, in the McDonald case, Sotomayor joined the dissent in writing that “I can find nothing in the Second Amendment’s text, history, or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as ‘fundamental’ insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes.”
Gun owners are sick and tired of nominees who hide behind the rhetoric of “precedent” and “settled law” during confirmation hearings, only to turn around and rule against the right to keep and bear arms once placed on the bench.
While McConnell does not have a record litigating in the area of the Second Amendment, his arguments in favor of massively expanding liability for manufacturers of products such as tobacco and lead paint are eerily similar to those used in attempts to bankrupt the firearms industry through frivolous lawsuits.
In fact, McConnell has not shied away from his willingness to use the courts to achieve his own version of “social justice,” as when he said in a 2005 interview that “[t]here are wrongs that need to be righted, and that’s how I see the law.”
In order to bring McConnell up for a vote as early as Wednesday, anti-gun Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked a parliamentary tactic that’s rarely used for district judge nominees. The so-called “cloture motion” filed by Reid cuts off the opposition from debate, but requires 60 votes to pass.
That means there’s a good chance we can win this vote. Reid and the Democrats control 53 seats in the chamber, so it’s imperative that we put the pressure on red state Democrats and weak-kneed Republicans.
ACTION: Please urge your Senators to vote “NO” on any votes related to John McConnell’s nomination.