On Day 2 of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing, U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., attempted to ensnare him by quoting the late Justice Antonin Scalia out of context:
“Justice Scalia also wrote that, quote, weapons that are most useful in military service, M-16 rifles and the like, may be banned, end quote, without infringing on the Second Amendment. Do you agree with that statement?”
AWR Hawkins quotes Scalia’s entire statement: “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause.” Scalia was making the point that one clause of the Second Amendment is not set against another, not opening the door to gun bans.
Justifiably wary, Gorsuch asked, “Are the statements out of the Heller decision?” Feinstein fudged, “Out of Justice Scalia’s statement.”
Gorsuch then replied, “Whatever is in Heller is the law, and I follow the law … It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, Senator, respectfully. It’s a matter of it being the law, and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”