With Kennedy Retirement, Trump Can Secure and Strengthen a Pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court

On Wednesday, Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he is retiring effective July 31. The move signals the end of Kennedy’s 30-year career on the nation’s highest court, which bore witness to its most important decisions concerning the Second Amendment. It also creates the opportunity for President Trump to appoint a replacement who will help reinvigorate the stalled progress in Second Amendment jurisprudence. Gun rights supporters will remember Kennedy for his vote recognizing the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms in the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling. Kennedy reaffirmed his fidelity to this constitutional right in the 2010 case McDonald v. Chicago , which incorporated the individual right to keep and bear arms to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Kennedy was also at times critical of federal overreach into state matters concerning firearms regulation. In the 1995 case United States v. Lopez , Kennedy joined a 5-4 majority to strike down the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990, which the court determined went beyond the federal government’s authority to regulate interstate commerce. In the 1997 case Printz v. United States , Kennedy joined another 5-4 majority in determining that the federal government, through the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, could not force state and local law enforcement officers to conduct background checks on handgun buyers. Since McDonald , however, the Supreme Court has shown a reluctance to defend the Second Amendment as a right commensurate with […]

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