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Everytown Statement: Senate Republicans Vote Judge Barrett Out of the Judiciary Committee

October 22, 2020

Judge Barrett is a Gun Rights Extremist Who Could Put Nearly Every Gun Safety Law at Risk

During Last Week’s Hearing, Judge Barrett Confirmed Her Belief that Some People Convicted of Felonies Should be Allowed to Own Guns, Said Her Alarming Dissent in Second Amendment Case “Shows My Judicial Philosophy,” and Drew Support From a Judge Who Authored One of the Most Extreme Gun Decisions to Date

NEW YORK –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, responded to Senate Republicans voting Judge Amy Coney Barrett out of the Senate Judiciary Committee as Senate Democrats boycotted the vote, meaning that her nomination will now be considered by the full Senate. During last week’s confirmation hearing, Judge Barrett made it clear that she is a Second Amendment extremist who, if confirmed, would put nearly every gun safety law in America at risk. 

“What happened today wasn’t a surprise, but it was a disgrace,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Giving Judge Barrett a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court would put nearly every gun safety law at risk, and our grassroots army of nearly 6 million supporters will fight like hell to end Republicans’ Senate majority at the ballot box.” 

“Today, Senate Republicans put the interests of the NRA ahead of the safety of the American people, and we will go all-out to hold them accountable for that decision at the ballot box,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. 

During last week’s confirmation hearing, Judge Barrett offered the clearest proof to date that she would be a pivotal vote against life-saving gun safety laws if appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Barrett doubled down on her dangerous interpretation of the Second Amendment, saying it “shows my judicial philosophy,” and she concerningly refused to say that voter intimidation (which has been illegal for decades) is illegal.

Below are four key takeaways from last week’s hearing:

1) Judge Barrett Reiterated Her Extreme Belief That Some People Convicted of Serious Felonies Should Be Able To Own Guns

Discussing her dissent in the Second Amendment case Kanter v. Barr, Judge Barrett once again made clear her view that some people convicted of serious felonies should be able to own guns — a truly extreme position that no appeals court has adopted:

“What I did was apply Heller’s methodology…and I concluded that based on that history one couldn’t take the right away simply because one was a felon.”

As Salon reported, Judge Barrett’s position that some felons should be able to possess guns is at odds with the stated positions of Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), as well as Republican Committee members Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Josh Hawley (R-MO). 

2) Judge Barrett Said her Alarming Dissent in Second Amendment Case ‘Shows My Judicial Philosophy’

During a separate exchange on Kanter v. Barr, Judge Barrett said:  

“What I can say is that my opinion in Kanter shows my judicial philosophy. I spend a lot of time looking at the history of the Second Amendment and Supreme Court cases. The way in which I would approach the review of gun regulations is in the same way. To look very carefully at the text, to look at what the original meaning was.”

3) Judge Barrett’s Nomination Drew Support From Judge Who Authored One of the Most Extreme Decisions on Carrying Firearms in Public

When Senate Republicans called witnesses to defend Judge Barrett, they chose retired federal appeals court judge Thomas Griffith, who authored one of the most extreme decisions to date on carrying firearms in public.

Specifically, Judge Griffith authored the D.C. Circuit’s opinion in Wrenn v. District of Columbia, which struck down a gun safety law regulating the carrying of firearms in public. Judge Griffith’s decision, which did not take into account the public safety effects of striking the law down, is inconsistent with how every other federal court of appeals has treated the type of law at issue, which requires individuals to demonstrate “good cause” in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public. It stands in sharp contrast to decisions of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Circuits, which upheld similar laws in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and California.

4) Judge Barrett Refused to Say That Voter Intimidation is Illegal

In an exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Judge Barrett refused to say that voter intimidation — which has been prohibited under federal law for decades — is illegal. 

Sen. Klobuchar: Judge Barrett, under federal law, is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls?

Judge Barrett: Senator Klobuchar, I can’t characterize the facts in a hypothetical situation, and I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts. I can only decide cases as they come to me, litigated by parties on a full record after fully engaging precedent, talking to colleagues, writing an opinion and so I can’t answer questions like that.

Sen. Klobuchar: OK. Well, I’ll make — I’ll make it easier. 18 U.S.C. 594 outlaws anyone who intimidates, threatens, coerces or attempts to intimidate, threaten or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote.  

If Judge Barrett is confirmed, nearly every gun safety law could be at risk, including bedrock laws like background checks on all gun sales, red flag laws, and measures to disarm domestic abusers –– all of which are supported by overwhelming majorities of American voters. A more detailed analysis can be found in this memo detailing Judge Barrett’s extreme positions on the Second Amendment, this memo on how this Supreme Court confirmation could impact gun safety in the U.S, and this chart showing which states’ gun safety laws are at risk.

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