By James W. Porter II, NRA President
If Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein keep their iron grip on the U.S. Senate majority after the November elections, the Second Amendment could be rendered dead as a doornail by a Barack Obama-packed U.S. Supreme Court.
Some pundits have wagered that it’s a certainty President Obama will have an opportunity to fill at least two lifetime vacancies on the high court before he leaves office.
The only way to stop an Obama gun-ban high-court nominee is to vote November 4 to guarantee a pro-gun U.S. Senate—the constitutional body with exclusive final say over judicial nominees.
Voting for a majority of pro-Second Amendment U.S. Senate candidates who will exercise the fundamental check on the executive branch—advise and consent—is a critical check on abuse of liberty.
As voters, we must end the Obama rubber-stamp rule that has been the hallmark of the Harry Reid/Chuck Schumer majority.
With the balance of the current court, the strength of the Second Amendment is tenuous, hanging by a 5-4 majority. That one-vote margin has saved the Second Amendment on the high court twice. The votes of two new justices could tip everything.
By a 5-4 vote in 2008, in Heller v. District of Columbia, the court majority struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban and the city’s ban on armed self-defense in the home—thus recognizing the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right.
The same slim majority carried the day with McDonald v. City of Chicago, the 2010 landmark decision which declared that city’s handgun ban unconstitutional and expanded the Heller ruling to cover every element of government in the nation.
In both of those decisions, the dissenting opinions of four justices were brutal in their denial of individual liberty. To them, there is no individual right, just a “collective” right that mirrors the “collective guilt” that is the core premise of gun control.
Current Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argues that those decisions were “grievously mistaken.” Like former Justice John Paul Stevens whose dissent declared “[t]he framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect the private right of self-defense,” she believes that Heller and McDonald must be swept aside.
Most dangerously, Justice Ginsburg believes dissents issued by the losing four justices serve as the basis for future court rulings to reverse the victories we hold today.
If you want to see the true agenda of the current Supreme Court dissenters when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms, look no further than Stevens’ vicious attack in a recent Washington Post opinion piece.
The Second Amendment, he says—as an individual right—is based on nothing more than “emotional claims.”
So he proffered a new Second Amendment that would read:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.” (emphasis added)
Stevens claimed that although his rewrite of the Second Amendment “would not silence the powerful voice of the gun lobby; it would merely eliminate its ability to advance one mistaken argument.”
That one “mistaken” argument is the bedrock to our liberty.
But just imagine if Stevens added similar words to the First Amendment, thus transforming those rights: the press is free to serve the government, or that Americans could only publish or speak words serving the government, or citizens could only assemble in support of the government, or that we possess only a collective right to practice a state religion.
Justice Stevens’ manifesto is deadly serious. But a gun-ban court majority doesn’t have to add words to the Second Amendment to destroy it. It merely has to interpret our rights by reprising old “collective” dissents.
If Obama and his rubber-stamp axis who now control the Senate have the chance to pack the court with justices in the image of Stevens and Ginsburg, they will. We can and we must change their endgame by changing the U.S. Senate.
NRA members, gun owners and all those who cherish the rights affirmed in the Heller and McDonald decisions are the key to preserving and protecting the Second Amendment. By voting for pro-freedom Senate candidates on November 4 to end the tyranny of the Obama/Reid Senate majority, we will have our day to “advise and consent” as to the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court and its role in securing our rights.
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