A judge with a track record of honestly upholding the law shouldn’t be polarizing, but the very idea that a U.S. Supreme Court justice will put aside personal views and interpret the law, including the U.S. Constitution and all of its amendments (read: the will of the people), is frightening to the left.
What is especially terrifying to the left is that Justice Amy Coney Barrett seems likely to solidify a majority on the high court who know their job isn’t to write the law from the bench—they are not, and must never act as, a super legislature.
So congratulations Justice Amy Coney Barrett. And thank you President Donald J. Trump for giving us a justice who has a track record of applying the law as written.
It is telling that what the left is mostly scared of is a justice who doesn’t have a track record of reading into laws that come before her unique interpretations designed to force her ideology on Americans. We elect legislators to pass laws—and we can vote them out if we don’t agree with their ideological motivation.
Justice Barrett seems very likely to get the chance to hear one or more Second Amendment cases, as several of the current justices publicly complained when the U.S. Supreme Court passed on gun rights cases—earlier this year, they passed on 10 such cases.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, released a written dissent for one of the cases the Court declined to hear: Rogers v. Grewal. In it, they wrote, “[I]n several jurisdictions throughout the country, law-abiding citizens have been barred from exercising the fundamental right to bear arms because they cannot show that they have a ‘justifiable need’ or ‘good reason’ for doing so. One would think that such an onerous burden on a fundamental right would warrant this Court’s review.”
Thomas also wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court “would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights… .” Nevertheless, he noted the U.S. Supreme Court “simply looks the other way” when “faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights.”
Judge Barrett’s record indicates she is also likely to agree to take up a Second Amendment case should one be considered.
In fact, last year, while she was on the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barrett heard a case dealing directly with gun-control restrictions. The case was Kanter v. Barr (7th Cir. 2019), and it involved a challenge to what amounted to a lifetime ban on a person’s Second Amendment rights. Its plaintiff, Robert Kanter, had pled guilty to a single count of federal mail fraud, and was sentenced to one year and a day in prison, which meant Kanter could not legally acquire firearms for the rest of his life.
A majority of judges on Barrett’s panel upheld the lifetime prohibition. Barrett, however, dissented. She concluded: “History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. … In 1791—and for well more than a century afterward—legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety.”
Barrett also noted that the laws in question were not written to serve the government’s compelling interest to protect the public, as the government didn’t present any evidence to show Kanter was a danger.
That sort of clear legal analysis scares the left.
Now, it seems, there is a fifth justice who, if her record is any guide, might just help to get the government out of the way of our fundamental freedom that the Second Amendment was intended to protect; a freedom that at least five million more Americans have opted to try this year alone.