Anyone expecting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing to be a firework show when it came to gun rights was disappointed. President Joe Biden’s nominee answered questions posed by probing U.S. senators, but some of those answers gave reason for pause.
Although Judge Jackson noted the U.S. Supreme Court in Heller affirmed the Second Amendment is an individual right, her full testimony was revealing. Judge Jackson demurred on questions surrounding concealed carry, spoke of the importance of Court precedent and refused to define her judicial philosophy.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) started off the three-days of marathon questioning of Judge Jackson getting to the heart of the matter.
“Do you believe the individual right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right?” Sen. Grassley asked.
Judge Jackson answered, “Senator, the Supreme Court has established that the individual right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right.”
Sen. Grassley pressed further asking the judge to describe how she would decide what a fundamental right is under the Constitution. Judge Jackson pointed to Court precedent that serves as a guide for how justices would discern fundamental rights.
She added that those precedents set the standards for determining if rights are fundamental, including the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause as it applies to liberty and personal autonomy.
“That’s the tradition of the Court for determining if something is fundamental in that way,” she added.
Later, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) pressed the question to Judge Jackson again, particularly when it came to whether local governments can enforce subjective standards in order to actually bear arms outside the home. Judge Jackson demurred, indicating that question is pending a decision before the Supreme Court.
That question is at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, that challenges New York’s “may issue” policy of requiring law-abiding citizens to show “good reason” to obtain a concealed carry permit.
“The Second Amendment, that right to keep and bear arms, is enumerated in the text of the Constitution,” Sen. Blackburn said. “So, the question would be ‘why should it have to have an extra burden?’”
Judge Jackson held firm that it would be improper for her to offer an answer to a case yet undecided.
The Reload’s Stephen Gutowski rightly noted that the question goes beyond those posed by NYSRPA v. Bruen. “Several states also require licensing for buying handguns, and Hawaii requires them for shotgun and rifle purchases as well,” Gutowski wrote.
“The Court may hear numerous gun permitting cases in the years ahead, and Jackson’s view of how far Second Amendment protections extend may play a significant role.”
Judge Jackson closed the question with this answer.
“Current Supreme Court precedent says that under the Second Amendment there is an individual, fundamental right to keep and bear arms in the home,” she said.
That answer was curious, and wrong. Tom Knighton of Bearing Arms pointed out that the final three words – “in the home” – isn’t a qualifier for the Second Amendment.
Knighton correctly wrote that Heller addressed Dick Heller’s challenge to Washington, D.C.’s laws that prohibited him from keeping a firearm in his home, but there is no mention of that restriction in the text of the Second Amendment. And Heller explains in detail that “bear” means to carry arms outside the home for lawful purposes.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) pressed Judge Jackson on the importance of Court precedent when it comes to deciding cases. This is particularly important as there are gun-related cases that are being petitioned to the Supreme Court now, including Young v. Hawaii, which presents the question of whether the Second Amendment applies outside the home and if the denial of a handgun carry license for self-defense violates Second Amendment rights.
Sen. Cornyn revisited Judge Jackson’s affirmation of the Supreme Court’s Heller decision and whether Judge Jackson viewed the precedent set by that case to be on equal footing with Roe v. Wade.
“I’m not aware of any ranking or grading of precedents. All precedents of the Supreme Court are entitled to respect on an equal basis,” Judge Jackson replied.
That might suggest that should any of the pending petitions before the Supreme Court Justice Jackson would be guided by Heller’s precedent.
Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor both similarly testified during their confirmation hearings they would be bound by Heller’s precedent too, but that wasn’t apparent from their questions during oral argument in NYSRPA v. Bruen. Justice Kagan posed the question whether Heller put a “stamp of approval” on certain gun control measures. Justice Sotomayor said she couldn’t “get past all that history” of gun regulations.
Unlike Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh or Neil Gorsuch, who all clearly identified their judicial philosophy of originalism – that the words of the law mean what was meant at the time of their writing – Judge Jackson refused to apply a label to her judicial line of thought.
Judge Jackson was asked if she adhered to a philosophy of a “living constitution” or that the meaning of the law is applied to modern understanding.
She didn’t answer the question saying only that she is “bound by the methods of constitutional interpretation that the Supreme Court has adopted, and I have a duty not to opine on the Supreme Court’s chosen methodology or suggest that I would undertake to interpret the text of the Constitution in any manner other than as the Supreme Court has directed.”
Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University and a practicing criminal defense attorney, in a Fox News opinion column wrote that her answer was confusing because justices are permitted to have guiding philosophies and have testified to it.
In fact, Judge Jackson previously answered the question “no” when she was nominated for the district court.
Turley pointed out that it was then-Sen. Biden who told the late-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that Senate confirmation hearings were meant to discuss judicial philosophies.
But we do have a window into Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy, however, and the view is deeply troubling for Second Amendment rights. Judge Jackson, who clerked for retiring-Justice Stephen Breyer, testified in essence that he is her mentor and testified, “I would hope to carry on his spirit.”
Of course, Justice Breyer authored a dissent in Heller setting out an interest-weighing analysis for the Second Amendment. Despite being expressly rejected by the majority in Heller, most federal courts of appeals in Second Amendment cases have applied Judge Jackson’s mentor’s interest-weighing analysis where the government nearly always wins.
This has not gone unnoticed by conservative members of the Supreme Court who have at times dissented in denials of petitions for a writ of certiorari in Second Amendment cases.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote on Judge Jackson’s nomination April 4. All expectations are that the committee vote will be tied, which would mean Judge Jackson’s nomination would be required to be discharged to the full Senate. If the vote is tied evenly there, Vice President Kamala Harris could be tie-breaking vote to seat Judge Jackson on the Supreme Court.
NSSF: Finally, we have the proof. Democrats would rather give up America than take up arms.
Halfway around the world, Ukrainians are exhibiting bravery and courage in the face of an invading Russian army.
Meanwhile here in America, the political party that supports disarming and restricting the Second Amendment rights of their country’s law-abiding citizens, and that pushes to defund law enforcement, would turn and flee if their country were invaded.
A majority of self-described Democrats, 52 percent, say they would leave the United States if America were being invaded rather than stay and fight.
Fight or Flight
The new Quinnipiac poll asked voters a hypothetical: Given what is happening in eastern Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “What would you do if you were in the same position as Ukrainians are now: stay and fight or leave the country?”
More than two-thirds of Republican voters, by a margin of 68-25, say they would stay and fight. A healthy majority of Independents would make a stand as well, 57-36. In a sad display, more than half of Democratic voters surveyed, 52-40, said they would flee.
Buoyed by the healthy margins of Republicans and Independents, altogether 55 percent of American voters said they’d fight rather than turn tail and run.
“When confronted with a terrible hypothetical that would put them in the shoes of the Ukrainians, Americans say they would stand and fight rather than seek safety in another country,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.
Democratic voters would not only hypothetically take flight, either. They and the gun control groups are – in reality – working to dismantle the Second Amendment and punish the industry that provides for the ability to exercise that right to purchase and possess firearms.
Real Time Refresher
The Founding Fathers preserved the right to keep and bear arms in law for good reason. Russia’s authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin ordered his army to invade neighboring Ukraine, believing taking control over more territory would be an easy task. Ukrainians had other ideas. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emboldened his citizens.
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” President Zelenskyy tweeted. “Don’t panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine.”
They’ve valiantly held back advances by Russia and Ukrainian leaders empowered their citizens to take up arms and fight for their country. Other countries have donated and shipped more arms for Ukrainians to use, including the United States.
Civilians who have never held a firearm arm before are quickly receiving training. Oleksandr Krasivskiy, a Ukrainian sales manager, said, “Here we receive more of the tactical training. How to move with the gun. How to operate it in building with the gun. What should we expect when we are in the combat situation. It’s totally new for me. I’ve never done this before and never interested before this whole situation started,” he said.
Women aren’t running either.
“Nine days ago I was teacher of makeup,” added Territorial Army Volunteer Svetlana Kalanova. “There’s no purpose for why they do this. I want to fight also because this is my country, this is my home. Everything is here.”
Operating her firearm has become second nature to her in short time.
Reinforcements On The Way
Much of America believes so strongly in the Second Amendment here at home that they’re helping Ukrainians defend their country with arms and munitions. NASCAR legend Richard Childress, along with AMMO Inc., donated 1 million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition to Ukraine, as did Vista Outdoor’s family of ammunition manufacturers of Remington, CCI, Speer and Federal Ammunition. Adams Arms announced they’re shipping rifles to help the effort. Several other members of the firearm and ammunition industry are assisting too.
“This is a wake-up call for America, and why we have to have our Second Amendment…To see the people in Ukraine fighting — it’s terrible to see the lives that are being lost over there,” Childress told Fox News.
Elections Have Consequences
“That will never happen here,” is a far too common thought. Ukrainians are experiencing it now with the invasion by Russia. Canadians are getting a taste as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergency Powers Act to trample on the rights of Canadians for 30 days and they’re facing a looming mandatory gun confiscation deadline.
The truth is gun control and their allied elected officials scheme every day to extinguish the Second Amendment. When legislative efforts to impose more gun restrictions fail, gun control goes a different route.
Financial service providers, banks and corporate boardrooms are implementing gun control by discriminating against and inhibiting lawful businesses that provide a Constitutionally-protected right to own firearms.
The firearm industry is fighting back on this new angle of attack through state and federal-level financial industry nondiscrimination legislation. However it’s voters who will ultimately tell gun control politicians what to do with their restrictions.
Support by voters for more gun control is the lowest levels in years, while lawful firearm purchases have hit record highs. Americans are seeing in real time just how fragile their rights can be if they aren’t willing to fight for them.
Re-Fund the Police”: Law Enforcement Today launches nationwide campaign for Americans to back the blue
Originally published October 10, 2021
Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”. While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers. And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.
And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – You back the Blue. You support the police. You quietly buy an officer a cup of coffee at your local coffeehouse. You bring homemade cookies to your local police station. You make it a point to thank an officer when you see one out in public.
You watch the news, aghast to see crowds of anti-police protesters and rioters committing acts of violence and massive property damage. You pray daily for the Blue family.
And yet, you may feel quite alone.
Politicians and the mainstream news media would have you think that police support is at an all-time low.
Some of you may have found it necessary to take down your Thin Blue Line flags from your house, or to scrape off the Thin Blue Line sticker from your vehicles, due to the potential for violent retaliation by those who hate the police.
Yes, it is the loudest voices that are the ugliest. They revile and attack those who back the Blue. They call, “Defund the Police!” at every turn, fueled by the lie that police officers are racists who are out to kill.
But you are actually in excellent company in your support of the blue family.
According to a Gallup poll, 85% of Americans support law enforcement. That means supporters of the Thin Blue Line are 285 million strong.
That would be 285 million who, like you, refuse join in the calls to defund the police.
And that means you are in the company of those who have logic and reason on their side.
Homicide rates since defunding are up 58% in Atlanta, up 533% in Portland, and up 37% in Philadelphia.
Shootings in post-defunded New York City are up 64%, and they are up 51% in Los Angeles and up 18% in Chicago.
In addition, you have also followed our disturbing and often tragic stories of attacks on police officers in the era of police defunding.
Felonious attacks on police are on the rise, as documented by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Data Collection.
According to LEOKA:
“The 50 law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the first 8 months of 2021 represent a 51.5 percent increase compared to the 33 officers killed during the same period in 2020.”
Also thanks to defunding, police departments across the country now lack training, resources, and equipment. Ironically, calls for additional training in cultural awareness, de-escalation, and use of force often have to go unheeded due to the lack of financial resources.
Another irony is that the push to do away with less-lethal options such as Tasers and tear gas will simply lead to more fatal police shootings.
These alarming stories and statistics indicate beyond a doubt that defunding the police is absolutely the wrong move for this great country. You know this, yet you and 285 million other voices are all too often silenced by social pressures as well as physical threats of violence.
You are even told, “Silence is violence,” when it comes to refusing to stand against law enforcement.
Your voice matters, and you need to be heard.
As Law Enforcement Today National Spokesman Kyle Reyes points out:
“Americans have stood by in disbelief as this ‘defund the police’ movement has spread across America and ravaged our communities.
“We’ve watched our cities burn, our officers be attacked and violence skyrocket.
“It’s time to come out of the twilight zone. It’s time to fight back.”
Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters? Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you. Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories. Click to check it out.
Law Enforcement Today, the nation’s largest police-owned media outlet, has developed a way to make your voice heard and oppose those who would seek to remove funding from those who protect and serve.
It’s called the “Re-Fund the Police” campaign.
“We wanted to make the “Re-fund the Police” campaign something that everyone- whether you can spare $1 or $1 million – can be a part of.
“People will donate to politicians all day long in hopes that person will get elected and possibly make a difference.
“We are asking for people to come forward and support those who make a difference and save lives every single day.”
Through your generous donations, Law Enforcement today will direct a media and advertising blitz to rally other Americans who, like you, are done with attacks on law enforcement, both physical and financial.
Here’s what the funds go towards:
- We’ve assembled a “strike team” of researchers and reporters who will delve deeply into the devastating impact that defunding the police has on communities and families. They’re going after not just the “leaders” in Congress who are pushing to defund the police… but they’re exposing everyone from the local politicians and city councils who are behind it. They’re also tracing the money of exactly who is funding this “defund the police” movement.
- We will focus on publicizing all the negative effects of defunding police while expressing support for our brothers and sisters in blue. The advertising blitz will be a show of support for police officers all across America.
In addition, we will be sending a team of reporters into our communities to share positive stories of law enforcement, stories which are consistently ignored by the mainstream media.
As a thank-you for your generosity in standing strong for the blue family, we are offering access codes for Law Enforcement Today’s Wounded Officer documentary and Border Crisis documentary. In addition, we offer additional perks such as stickers and Thin Blue Line face masks or yard signs.
Donors are also able to honor or memorialize a member of the blue family.
For those who cannot afford to contribute, we invite you to be a part of a nationwide chain of prayer warriors.
You can join our prayer chain along with other supporters who are willing to pray for our brothers and sisters in blue.
Also, when you sign up for our newsletter, we will keep you informed on how we are continuing to back the Blue, and bring you the stories the mainstream media will not touch.
Now to small businesses who are sick and tired of watching our cities burn as the “defund the police” movement spreads.
For business donors, we are pleased to offer a unique opportunity to make a difference in police departments across the country.
“We wanted to make sure small businesses could get in the fight, so we are rolling out the ‘adopt a police department’ program.”
Your business donation will be used to cover stories in the community of your choice, and expose those who are attempting to defund the police. Those stories, if you choose, will also include a thank you to your business and a link back to your business website.
In addition, your generous business donation will go toward advertising campaigns that highlight the negative effects of demonizing and defunding the police.
This will give you the opportunity to show to millions of Americans that, unlike “woke” anti-police organizations, you support and appreciate law enforcement.
Reyes points out:
“Corporate America rallied around the Black Lives Matter movement, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to a campaign that brought widespread looting and destruction in our cities.
“This is an opportunity for businesses to show America that law and order and keeping people safe still means something to them.”
Please join your voice with Law Enforcement Today in this campaign to support all those who protect and serve us.
We invite you to visit the Re-Fund the Police website for further information.
If you have questions, or you want to start your own fundraising team, feel free to email us at [email protected]
It’s time to get in the fight.
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