Will The Next Supreme Court Justice Support Your Rights?


Will the Next Supreme Court Justice Support the Second Amendment?
— Ask President Bush NOT to nominate the anti-gun Alberto Gonzales

It looks like the judicial rumor mill was right on the money. There had been increasing speculation in recent weeks that a Supreme Court Justice would be stepping down soon.

And while many thought it would be Chief Justice Rehnquist because of his failing health, many Capitol Hill insiders suspected it would be Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

They were right. Justice O’Connor retired from the high court earlier this month, leaving a huge vacancy that President Bush will now have to fill.

Obviously, no one outside of the President’s closest advisors can definitively know who is on the President’s “short list.” But many insiders are reporting that the initial nod could go to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

In a recent column, columnist Robert Novak reported, “George W. Bush loves Al Gonzales and would like his former chief counsel to head a ‘Gonzales Court.'”

And The Washington Post recently admitted that Alberto Gonzales’ name “echoes in Washington as one of the most likely Supreme Court candidates” (July 4, 2005).

So what do we know about Alberto Gonzales? Would he be a plus or a minus when it comes to the Constitution in general or the Second Amendment in particular?

As a matter of fact, we know quite a bit about this potential Supreme Court nominee. And what we know of the former Texas Supreme Court Justice is not comforting. (Gonzales was put on the highest state court by then-Texas Gov. George Bush in 1999.)

When he testified before the U.S. Senate on January 18, 2005, Gonzales expressed his unequivocal support for gun control. Fox News quoted Gonzales on that day as saying, “The president has made it clear that he stands ready to sign a reauthorization of the federal assault weapons ban if it is sent to him by Congress. I, of course, support the president on this issue.”

Lest one think that Gonzales is just being a good soldier supporting his boss’ position, one should realize that his support for gun control is heart felt.

Gonzales referenced his brother, Tony, who is a SWAT officer in Houston. “I worry about his safety and the types of weapons he will confront on the street,” Gonzales said. And he immediately proceeded to tell his senatorial inquisitors about his support for the semi-auto ban.

Because he is a gun control supporter, one should immediately question Gonzales’ commitment to the U.S. Constitution.

Here again, the early indications are not good. Gonzales believes the Constitution is a “living document” and that only the nine justices on the court have the capacity to explain what it means. Such is the report from Joseph Farah, founder and head of WorldNetDaily.

Farah spent some time with Gonzales at a private dinner meeting, and in a November 11, 2004 column, reported he was “stunned” and “horrified” at Gonzales’ view of the Constitution.

“The Supreme Court tells us what the Constitution says and means,” Gonzales said. And in his view, the high court actually “makes law” through its precedent-setting rulings.

Thankfully, not all the potential nominees support gun control or have such a low view of the Constitution.

Several justices who are currently on the bench would make excellent choices for the new vacancy. For example, Justice Janice Rogers Brown is one of the most recently confirmed judges to the federal courts. Brown was confirmed by the Senate last month by a 56-43 vote.

As a Justice on the California Supreme Court, Brown referred to Roosevelt’s New Deal as our “own socialist revolution.” In regard to taxpayer supported welfare, she said that, “Theft is theft even when the government approves of the thievery.”

On gun rights, Brown sounds like a modern-day Annie Oakley. She used language from an amicus curiae brief that was submitted by Gun Owners of California to argue against Los Angeles’ ban on gun shows.

And her most extensive Second Amendment scholarship appeared in the case involving the California ban on semi-automatic firearms (Kassler v. Lockyer). In a decision upholding the California ban on certain semi-autos (the so-called “assault weapons”), she faulted the U.S. Supreme Court for picking and choosing which rights it liked.

She most definitely came down on the right side, stating that the individual right to keep and bear arms is a “right expressly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.”

There are other conservative judges who are currently on the federal bench who also have a high regard for the U.S. Constitution. Judge Samuel Alito, Jr., in the Third Circuit, has argued that Congress has no right to regulate the private possession of machine guns. There is Edith Jones in the Fifth Circuit who understands that our “unalienable rights were given by God to all our fellow citizens.”

And in the Ninth Circuit, Judge Alex Kozinski has chided his liberal colleagues for falling prey to the popular delusion that we are “better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll.” He cites chapter and verse, showing how gun control has been used to subjugate blacks in the South, as well as other minorities all across the world.

“All too many of the other great tragedies of history — Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few — were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations,” Kozinski said. “Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here.”

[To see Kozinski’s entire dissenting opinion against the California semi-auto ban, go to http://www.gunowners.org/op0326.htm on the GOA website.]

The point should be clear. There are good judges who can fill the void on the Court. Despite his friendship with Alberto Gonzales, the President should be reminded that millions of people did not flock to the polls to defeat Al Gore and John Kerry just so he could appoint liberal anti-gunners to the high court.

ACTION: Please contact President Bush and urge him to nominate a constitutionalist to the Supreme Court. And remind him that American gun owners do NOT want Alberto Gonzales, or anyone like him, to sit on the Court.

You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send the President the pre-written message below. You can also contact the President using any of the following mediums:

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX:        202-456-2461
E-Mail: [email protected]

— Pre-written letter —

Dear President Bush:

With the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, you are faced with a tremendous opportunity to appoint a constitutional scholar who truly understands the rule of law and respects the Bill of Rights.

Unfortunately, Alberto Gonzales is NOT that man!

As one who respects the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (especially the Second Amendment), I hope that you will not appoint someone who holds views similar to those of Gonzales.

You truly made an excellent choice in putting Justice Janice Rogers Brown on the federal bench. She understands the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and she realizes that the Supreme Court is supposed to interpret, not make, the laws. I hope that you will nominate either her or someone like her to the Supreme Court. Thank you.