The Second Amendment succinctly and plainly states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” However, some state and local governments, such as Chicago, have implemented burdensome restrictions that prevent individuals from exercising this most basic right. The Supreme Court’s ruling on McDonald v. Chicago is more than a victory for gun rights activists; it is a victory for all Americans as the Supreme Court protects our God-given, constitutionally protected rights.
It is somewhat ironic that this decision came on the same day the Senate began hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Kagan’s limited judicial experience provides narrow insight into her philosophy. However, her limited record and past statements provide reason for concern. During her time as a clerk for the Supreme Court, Kagan stated she was “not sympathetic” to a man’s contention that “the District of Columbia’s firearms statutes violate his constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms.’” A Supreme Court Justice should not only be sympathetic to individuals’ rights secured in the Constitution; they should be the strongest advocate. With activists continually attempting to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights, it is the Supreme Court’s role to protect the rights to exercise these precious freedoms all across America.
All too often the Supreme Court has overstepped its Constitutional authority enumerated in Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution. It is imperative that the next Supreme Court Justice confirmed to the bench understands that their role is to apply the U.S. Constitution. It is not to legislate or even to interpret the Constitution to fit their political agenda.
The Court’s affirmation that Americans in all 50 states have the right to bear arms is reason for celebration; however, this is just one skirmish in the battle. I encourage every U.S. Senator, given the sole Constitutional responsibility to confirm Justices, to use this moment as a reminder of the weight of responsibility they hold in protecting freedom and to carefully examine this nominee’s record to ensure she will uphold the Constitution.
Rep. Paul Broun, M.D. (GA-10) co-chairs the House Second Amendment Task Force.