Judge Gorsuch Addresses Heller Decision During Senate Hearing

posted on March 21, 2017
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, addressed a couple of questions of interest to National Rifle Association members in a Senate hearing on Monday. 

When questioned by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, about the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller case—in which the court ruled that the Second Amendment ensures an individual right to own a firearm for self-defense—Gorsuch said, “It is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court, and as a good judge, you don’t approach that question anew, as if it had never been decided. That would be a wrong way to approach it.” 

Gorsuch added, “… part of being a good judge is coming in and taking precedent as it stands, and your personal views about the precedent have absolutely nothing to do with being a good judge.” 

Gorsuch also addressed the Citizens United case, in which the court ruled that organizations like the NRA cannot be stripped of their right to free speech concerning election issues.

“Senator, I’d give you the same response … we’re all human beings, but the judge’s job is to put that stuff aside and approach the law as you find it, and that’s part of the precedent of the United States Supreme Court that I’m sworn as a sitting judge to give the full weight and respect to due precedent,” he said.

Confirmation hearings for Gorsuch will continue today. A vote on the nomination is expected by April 10.


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