BELLEVUE, WA â€“ Mondayâ€™s high-profile prodding by retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens for Congress to do something, and for presidential candidates to say something, about gun control proves the importance of who is in the White House and the U.S. Senate to make and confirm high court nominations, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.
Reuters reported that the retired justice was the speaker at Mondayâ€™s luncheon hosted by the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Stevens wrote dissenting opinions on both the 2008 Heller ruling and the 2010 McDonald decision, both of which affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms.
â€œIn both of his dissents,â€ noted CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, â€œJustice Stevens contended that the right to keep and bear arms was limited to state militia service. It was, and remains, an astonishing position on a fundamental civil right.
â€œWhat Justice Stevensâ€™ speech clearly underscores,â€ he continued, â€œis the critical importance of who is president, not just for the next four years, but whenever a vacancy occurs on the high court. Imagine if Justice Stevensâ€™ opinion had prevailed.â€
Stevensâ€™ dissent in the Heller case was heavily criticized by the majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia. The majority ruling described Stevensâ€™ arguments as â€œsimply wrong,â€ and at one point â€“ when addressing Stevensâ€™ history of the Second Amendment â€“ said that he â€œflatly misreads the historical record.â€
â€œStevensâ€™ replacement on the Supreme Court was liberal Elena Kagan,â€ Gottlieb noted. â€œA liberal, anti-gun majority could easily narrow, rather than expand, the scope of our Second Amendment. Thatâ€™s why it is, and always will be, important for gun owners to have a pro-gun-rights president and pro-gun majority in the Senate, especially on the Judiciary Committee.â€