Here Comes The Judge … Maybe

Biden’s Choice of Ketanji Brown Jackson May Hit Speed Bumps

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is Joe Biden’s pick to ascend to the Supreme Court
upon the retirement later this year of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. (Screen snip, YouTube, PBS)

Red flags went up almost immediately after Joe Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court drew near euphoric praise from the gun prohibition lobby, which hailed the choice as a positive step toward “gun safety.”

Why, is she a certified firearms instructor? A Gunsite graduate, perhaps? No, she’s a liberal jurist with some decent credentials; an articulate lady who has worked hard and achieved significant goals. However, the speed with which anti-gunners began lobbying for her confirmation set off warning flares across the landscape.

Everytown for Gun Safety and its subsidiary groups, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, all supported by anti-gun billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, want the Senate to “confirm her without delay.”

There may be some speed bumps in the way, possibly the biggest being the Second Amendment. Judge Jackson hasn’t any history regarding cases associated with the right to keep and bear arms, but her support from the gun control crowd doesn’t bode well.

What about this nominee? According to some biographical information, Judge Jackson is no amateur in the legal arena. She graduated cum laude with a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1996. While at Harvard, she “served as a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review,” a position that requires more on the ball than just good spelling and grammar.

The same biographical sketch said she received an A.B., magna cum laude, in government from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992. She clerked for the man she’s been nominated to replace, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, plus Judge Bruce M. Selya of the First U.S. Court of Appeals, and Judge Patti B. Saris in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

She’s been in private practice with Morison & Foerster LLP, and she has also served as an assistant federal public defender in the District of Columbia, where she now serves on the D.C. Court of Appeals, considered by many to be the next best thing to the Supreme Court.

Will this be A Tough Sell?

Judge Jackson will likely face some tough grilling by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including questions about her personal philosophy regarding the Second Amendment.

It is no small concern, because right to keep and bear arms questions just might be the acid test. Anti-gun-rights groups despise the fact that the current high court makeup has a majority of justices identified as “conservatives,” who are also considered “constitutionalists.” Translation: They’re not activists inventing new constitutional rights, instead concentrating on original intent of the Constitution as a legal document rather than a living document.

Anti-gunners acknowledge Judge Jackson, if she is confirmed later this year, will be unable to influence the outcome of what could be a landmark right-to-bear-arms case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The group, a state affiliate of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, is suing New York over its restrictive policies about concealed carry permits.

If the high court strikes down New York’s permitting process, requiring so-called “good cause,” the next step would be for the court to take a case to determine whether semi-automatic modern rifles with full-capacity (20- and 30- round) magazines are protected by the Second Amendment, and if they are, to what degree?

Some veteran gun rights advocates have privately observed that if the Court strikes down the New York scheme and then takes a case to rule AR-15’s are protected, it is essentially “game over” though there will be probably years of clean-up cases to be rid of laws in states where anti-gunners stubbornly refuse to let go.

As it stands, if Judge Jackson is confirmed, she will still be in the minority with two other justices considered to be liberals, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

It’s a Brave New World

The gun ban lobby may be feeling a bit less boisterous, even with a high court nominee to push, and this is because of a recent Rasmussen survey which had an interesting revelation.

According to Rasmussen—a veteran polling firm not prone to making mistakes—36 percent of American adults “say they or someone in their household owns a gun,” and of that group, a significant 61 percent “say they feel safer knowing there’s a gun in the house.”

A recent Rasmussen poll says more than one-third of American adults live in
a household where someone owns a gun. Of those, a majority says they feel safer as a result.

While still a minority, pro-Second Amendment sentiment has been building in recent weeks, thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where the government was handing out guns and ammunition to private citizens so they could defend their country. As that happened, there were crickets from the gun control crowd.

Social media erupted with discussions about the importance of the Second Amendment to this country’s security. One of the more widely-circulated memes was a note from Firearms Unknown launched the day after the invasion began: The answer to the question “why do you need an AR 15 and 30 round magazines?” is on every news channel today.

Sure it’s symbolism, but symbolic messaging is a powerful political and social tool. And suddenly, courage and patriotism were in vogue again, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was photographed literally on the front lines, reportedly turning down an offer to evacuate him, and instead allegedly declaring he didn’t need a ride, he needed more ammunition. Even if it’s an urban myth, it’s the kind of thing that takes on a life of its own.

What other head of government would be in the trenches with his people? It’s the kind of thing that spawns movie scripts.

As for the Rasmussen poll, 45 percent of married Americans live in gun-owning households. Anybody want to bet how many of those married citizens will be voting in November after—by then—21 months of rising gasoline and grocery prices, taxes and crime?

This should come as no surprise to anybody who reads newspapers or watches the evening news; a separate Rasmussen survey revealed 83 percent of likely voters think violent crime “will be important in this year’s congressional elections, including 56 percent who say the crime issue will be very important.” The same survey found that 65 percent of voters think violent crime is getting worse.

As the campaign season unfolds later this year, politicians seeking votes may be on the spot when it comes to questions about gun ownership, safe neighborhoods and the right to carry defensive sidearms in public.

Ukrainian Gun Rights Group

You read that right, there’s a gun rights activist group in Ukraine known as the Ukrainian Gun Owners Association (Zbroya), and when people here started wondering how to support the people there following the invasion, the Second Amendment Foundation was quick with a reminder.

Several years ago, SAF was a driving force behind the creation of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), and the Ukraine group is a member. They have, or at least had at the time of the invasion, a website and a means of donating to their cause.

SAF issued a news release with links and other information. How many people contributed is a mystery. However, Americans like an underdog. They’re not terribly fond of Russian dictators. It is still part of the American fabric to flip despots the bird.

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