While political drama is playing out over the possible release of the controversial “FISA memo” that many conservatives suspect may reveal government surveillance abuses, President Donald Trump may be laying the foundation for his “greatest legacy” – reshaping the federal courts – according to CBN News.
It has been accomplished largely below the radar while the press focus has been on more sensational subjects, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan’s declaration Tuesday morning that releasing the FISA memo could help “cleanse” the FBI because disclosure of the suspected surveillance abuses is “the best disinfectant,” according to Fox News.
But while the dominant media concentrate on stories seemingly designed to give the president grief, he has been busy.
During his first year in office, the president has offered nearly 70 judicial nominations, CBN reported. That’s more than twice the number made by Barack Obama, and that includes filling a dozen appeals court vacancies, adding about 10 judges at the district court level and getting Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. And there are more vacancies to fill.
Many conservatives, and that includes American gun owners and Second Amendment activists, believe that the federal courts have drifted too far to the left in recent years. With a number of important gun rights cases working through the court system, filed primarily by the Second Amendment Foundation and/or National Rifle Association and state-level associate groups, there is much at stake.
For example, the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco, considered by many to be the most liberal in the nation, has ruled in one case that concealed carry is not protected by the Second Amendment. It’s a position that gun rights activists consider ludicrous.
On the other side of the country, the federal district court in Washington, D.C. struck down that city’s “good reason” requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit.
The gun prohibition lobby may be making headway in some states, either with legislation or the initiative process, but at the end of the day, if challenges to gun laws wind up before the courts, it will be appointed-for-life federal judges and perhaps even Supreme Court justices who have the final say.
This has been happening quietly while cable news agencies concentrate on allegations about Trump, Russians and other stories. Those reports are good for the short term, but judicial appointments are for the long haul and could affect civil rights for the next 25-50 years. If the president gets another one or two opportunities to make additional Supreme Court nominations, and fills vacancies with jurists who are faithful to the Second Amendment, it could ensure that the right to keep and bear arms isn’t regulated into oblivion.
As the president prepares for his first State of the Union address, the speculation is that he will discuss his administration’s successes in foreign relations, the economy and bringing business back to the United States. But reshaping the federal courts might just turn out to be his most important achievement.
As SAF founder and executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb is fond of saying, President Trump could “make the Second Amendment great again.”