Conservatives and Second Amendment advocates moved quickly following the announcement by Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy of his impending retirement, urging President Donald Trump to nominate a ‘constitutional conservative’ and pro-Second Amendment jurist to fill the vacancy.
Kennedy’s retirement announcement ignited what some observers are calling a meltdown of “liberal activists and journalists.” This will give the president an opportunity to establish a legacy that could last for decades, shifting the balance on the high court in a way that liberals and anti-gunners have feared since Trump was elected.
Instead of an activist court that many argued had invented constitutional rights where there were none, or had legislated from the bench, a more conservative court is a threat to the so-called “progressive” agenda. The president told reporters that a search for Kennedy’s successor will begin immediately, and depending upon how the process unfolds, it could become a serious campaign issue during the midterm election cycle.
For Second Amendment advocates such as Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the challenge is crystal clear.
“Gun owners must make sure that President Trump and the U. S. Senate nominate and confirm a Supreme Court Judge that truly respects the Second Amendment,” Gottlieb told Liberty Park Press via email. “The gun prohibitionists will do everything in their power to derail a pro-gun rights nominee.”
“Justice Kennedy’s retirement is another opportunity for President Trump to nominate a constitutional conservative to the bench who will honor the Constitution and the rule of law,” noted Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement to the press. “President Trump should put forward another nominee who has a demonstrated record of applying the rule of law rather than legislating from the bench.
“And,” Fitton continued, “the U.S. Senate should move quickly to work with President Trump to consider and approve a new justice who will apply the U.S. Constitution as written and understood by our Founding Fathers.”
But this could be a brutal political battle in the making. Certain to line up against any pro-Second Amendment nominee will be anti-gun Senators Charles Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal and Kamala Harris.
Kennedy has been the swing vote on a divided court for three decades. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, often casting the deciding votes on such things as abortion and gay rights, the Second Amendment and other issues, the retiring Kennedy has been something of a balancing act. That may now change with a rightward shift of the court.
A more conservative court may decide to take up cases involving right-to-carry and whether modern semiautomatic sporting rifles are protected by the Second Amendment.