President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to be a justice on the Supreme Court is being spun in the media as a moderate pick. The theory is that the Senate Republicans, who had vowed to not even consider a Supreme Court pick, would be pressured to at least consider him if not outright confirm him. But, as the Washington Times reported, Judge Garland may have a view of the Second Amendment that most Americans will find obnoxious.  

The story surrounds the D.C. vs Heller case that was decided by the Supreme Court in 2008.

The landmark decision affirmed that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The decision was written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Gun rights advocates point to a decision by the D.C. Appeals Court not to rehear Heller when a three judge panel ruled against the District of Columbia. Six judges of the full court voted against rehearing the case, but four judges, including Garland, voted for rehearing it. The presumption is that Garland favored the gun restrictions imposed by the D.C. government that were eventually overturned by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. Garland would be the fifth vote to overturn Heller and restore the rights of local and state governments to restrict the right to keep and bear arms.

President Obama likely knows this and thus choose to nominate Garland to stick a thumb in the collective eye of gun rights advocates.

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Obama himself has a rather casual attitude toward the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, regarding them as mere suggestions than any iron-clad impediment on his power. A chance to soften the Second Amendment is not something he would readily pass up.

In any case, the matter ought to be moot. Thus far the Senate Republicans are sticking to their vow to not consider any Obama Supreme Court nominees, the theory being that the next president, presumably a Republican, would likely choose someone more suitable to follow in the footsteps of Scalia.