THE POSITIONING OF JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND FOR A LIBERAL-WING TAKEOVER OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
In the previous article in this series we began with a discussion of our concern over President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. We analyzed a Second Amendment case brought before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Circuit. The case is Parker vs. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370 (D.C. Cir. 2007), petition for en banc hearing denied, Parker vs. District of Columbia, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 11029 (D.C. Cir. 2007). An analysis of that case gives an inkling as to Judge Garland’s view of Americans’ Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms. It’s not good. In this Article we provide further perspective.
Judge Garland presently serves as one of ten Judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Service on that Court is a stepping stone to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact the late Justice Antonin Scalia also served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit before President Reagan nominated him to the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate subsequently confirmed the nomination in 1986. Justice Scalia served as an esteemed Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court until his untimely death on February 13, 2016.
Many legal experts consider the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to be the second most powerful Court in the Country. Other U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal give considerable deference to a decision by that Court, but they are not obligated to do so.
A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, though, has binding effect over the Nation and its territories. Given the monumental impact of a U.S. Supreme Court decision, it is incumbent on the U.S. Senate to be circumspect in handling a nomination to the high Court. The decisions of the high Court impact the very fabric of society and, in fact, the existence of a free Republic. The framers of our Constitution made certain the U.S. Senate shall have the final say on all appointments to the high Court. The President shall nominate but the only the U.S. Senate can confirm the appointment. The Senate proffers its advice and consent, consistent with Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, the framers of our Constitution intended, and for good reason, to preclude a President from packing the Court. The U.S. Senate, though, seeks – and rightfully so – to protect the legacy of Justice Scalia, a man who devoted his life to – and focused his brilliant mind on – preserving our Bill of Rights.
President Obama is improperly attempting to force the Senate’s hand in this matter and he is using the medium of a compliant Press to do so. He waxes poetic over the intellectual ability and moral character of Judge Garland and the Press echoes the President’s sentiments. One phrase President Obama uses in defining Judge Garland, though, should give the U.S. Senate and the American people pause.
The President says Judge Garland is a “consensus builder.” Consider the meaning of that phrase for a moment. The President is saying Judge Garland would likely bridge the gap between the liberal wing of the Court and the conservative wing – a position, at the moment, filled by Justice Kennedy. But, Judge Garland is said to fall “to the left” of Justice Kennedy. Thus, the assertion that Judge Garland would act as a “consensus builder” on the high Court means, disconcertingly, that Judge Garland – serving as Justice Garland – would hand the liberal wing of the Court a decisive majority in every case. Justice Garland would likely support every cause promoted by the progressive left in this Country. The shattering of the Bill of Rights is not a pleasant thought to contemplate.
The idea is not wild fancy. Judge Garland, sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court as Justice Garland, would take an active part in drafting opinions weakening the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms. Most news articles fail to mention Judge Garland’s clear antipathy toward the Second Amendment if those articles happen to mention the Second Amendment at all.
Yet, it would be an affront to the memory of Justice Scalia to have, as his replacement, a man – regardless of ability and temperament – who would not continue Justice Scalia’s deference to our Bill of Rights.
How do we know this? In our previous article we provided you with a comprehensive analysis of one Second Amendment case, Parker vs. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370 (D.C. Cir. 2007), petition for en banc hearing denied, Parker vs. District of Columbia, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 11029 (D.C. Cir. 2007). An analysis of that case gives an inkling into the mindset of Justice Garland. He is not at all a proponent of the Second Amendment. But consider: would President Obama honestly nominate a person to serve on the high Court if that person professed a strong propensity to preserve and strengthen the Second Amendment?
Do we find in President Obama’s previous two nominations, whom the U.S. Senate confirmed, namely, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonja Sotomayor, to be proponents of the Second Amendment? If you think so, you should take another look at the seminal Second Amendment case, District of Columbia vs. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 (2008). Those two Justices, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer – the liberal-wing of the Court – dissented from the Majority in that case.
Had Judge Garland served on the high Court in lieu of Justice Scalia, at the time the Heller case was decided, the outcome would have been entirely different. Of that, there can be no reasonable doubt. The liberal-wing of the Court would have had a majority and that majority would hold that: the right of the people to keep and bear arms does not entail an individual right, and that the Second Amendment has no meaning except in respect to one who serves in a military capacity.
So, contrary to protestations of President Obama, as echoed through and trumpeted by a submissive news media, the U.S. Senate is not shirking its duty by refusing to consider Judge Garland’s confirmation. President Obama tells the Senate that it must do its job, just as President Obama has done his. He says, contemptuously, even perniciously: “to suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn’t even deserve a hearing, let alone an up-or-down vote, to join an institution as important as our Supreme Court, when two-thirds of Americans believe otherwise — that would be unprecedented.”
The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary takes its role very seriously and it has in fact acted by choosing not to act on the Garland nomination at this time. Indeed, it has taken the only appropriate action it can take at this time – a step necessary to protect our Bill of Rights. The U.S. Senate is fulfilling its obligation under the U.S. Constitution, as the framers of the Constitution entrusted to it. Keep in mind: through Obama’s two prior nominations that the Senate confirmed, the composition of the high Court now tilts dangerously leftward. Equilibrium would be entirely lost were the Senate to confirm the nomination of Judge Garland.
In the next article in this series we take a close look at a second U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit case – one that Judge Garland had a hand in – a case that bespeaks a positive legal bent away from – not toward – the preservation of the Second Amendment – a case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, eight years before Justice Scalia wrote the Majority opinion in Heller.
Citizens beware! Our right to keep and bear arms is grossly threatened – more so than ever before. Stand up and demand that your elected officials protect the Second Amendment![separator type=”medium” style=”normal” align=”left”margin-bottom=”25″ margin_top=”5″] Copyright © 2015 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.