Supreme Court Justice Kennedy retiring creates an opportunity for President Trump.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement clears the way for an expansion of gun rights. Kennedy has been blocking attempts to expand Second Amendment rights for years.
The Supreme Court has been refusing to hear Second Amendment cases for several years, law professor Eric Segall wrote in The Huffington Post. The Supreme Court is refusing to hear important gun-rights cases. Second Amendment issues the court has refused to hear include assault rifle bans, waiting periods, bans on stun guns, and concealed-carry permits.
Kennedy joined four liberal justices in refusing to review gun cases in an attempt to stop gun rights expansion, Segall speculates. Kennedy’s absence will allow the court to start hearing more Second Amendment cases.
“What this likely means is that we can expect the Supreme Court to start reviewing a few of the more important gun control cases now percolating in the lower courts,” Segall wrote. As a result, conservative justices like Clarence Thomas want to hear more Second Amendment cases – but lacked the votes to get the court to act.
Trump Likely to appoint Pro-Gun Conservative to Supreme Court
President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) is promising to appoint a pro-gun conservative to replace Kennedy. Kennedy is considered a moderate because he was the court’s “swing vote.” As the swing voter, Kennedy took both conservative and liberal stands on issues.
“The new justice the president appoints could help create the first genuine conservative majority on the Supreme Court since the 1930s,” Curt Levey wrote at Fox News.
Levey thinks that prospect will spark political warfare. Also, Levey believes Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to stop Trump from appointing another Supreme Court Justice.
Kennedy Replacement not a Done Deal
Nominated for the Supreme Court by Ronal Reagan, Justice Kennedy’s voting record on guns has been mixed.
Replacing Kennedy with a conservative, hinges on just one vote in the U.S. Senate. Under the current rules, it takes a vote of 51 Senators to approve a Supreme Court nominee.
Republicans have a one-vote Senate majority because they control 51 seats. Democrats are one vote away from stopping Trump because one Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona is ill with brain cancer. If McCain dies or becomes incapacitated Republicans lose their majority.
Likewise, the nomination can be blocked if one Republican Senator opposes it. The replacement will be blocked by Democrats if another Republican is unable to vote.
Democrats are trying to block the nomination process until after the Presidential election in 2021. That stratagem worked for Republicans in 2016, after Antonin Scalia died. Many Democrats prefer an empty seat on the Supreme Court to a conservative on the nation’s highest bench.
Further, the future of Second Amendment rests on the November 6 midterm elections because Democrats will block all Trump nominees. Capturing the Senate would enable Democrats to keep conservatives off the Supreme Court. The President’s Supreme Court list can be found at the White House website.
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