Senate Republicans will press Judge Sonia Sotomayor on gun rights, a politically divisive issue that they hope could weaken Democratic support for the Supreme Court nominee, the Los Angeles Times reports. Though Republicans are a pronounced minority in the House and Senate, they have used the gun issue to their advantage to divert the legislative agenda, forcing Democrats from moderate and conservative states to take risky votes on gun provisions. Sotomayor’s record appears to provide the GOP with another opportunity to bring the issue to light.
This year, Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held the 2nd Amendment did not apply to the states. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and other senators said yesterday they were concerned about the decision and pledged to grill Sotomayor about it at her confirmation hearings, which begin July 13. Gun rights “are now up for grabs in the court, so it brings a whole new constituency to this fight,” said Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice, a conservative group. “This could become a tough vote for red-state Democrats because they don’t want to be on the wrong side of the 2nd Amendment.”