Does Owning a Gun Make a Judge’s Second Amendment Rulings Suspect?

Does Owning a Gun Make a Judge's Second Amendment Rulings Suspect?

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) was trying to help out Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett when he asked her whether she owns a gun during her confirmation hearing yesterday. But the premise of his question—that gun ownership might be viewed as disqualifying a judge from dealing fairly with cases involving the Second Amendment—could not be more absurd. Here is the relevant exchange: Graham: When it comes to your personal views about this topic, do you own a gun? Barrett: We do own a gun. Graham: OK. All right. Do you think you could fairly decide a [Second Amendment] case even though you own a gun? Barrett: Yes. CNN highlighted that exchange in a headline and tweet , noting that "Barrett says she owns a gun, but could fairly judge a case on gun rights." The Independent also considered the point noteworthy : "Nominee owns a gun, but says she would rule ‘fairly’ on gun control cases." So did Fox News: "Barrett admits to owning a gun, says she can set aside beliefs to rule on 2nd Amendment fairly." As the Fox News example suggests, this framing is probably not simply a matter of anti-gun bias. But it does suggest that, more than a decade after the Supreme Court explicitly recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to armed self-defense, that right is still treated as " second-class " in the press as well as the courts. Try to imagine headlines like these: • Barrett […]

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