For the first time in its 138-year history, the National Rifle Association is counting the votes on a Supreme Court nominee in its ratings of senators, says the Washington Post in an editorial. Senators, including members of the Judiciary Committee who are due to vote on Sonia Sotomayor today– will have to choose between voting for the first Hispanic nominee and getting high marks from the premier gun rights organization, which opposes her.
During her confirmation hearings, Sotomayor repeatedly acknowledged that the Second Amendment bestows an individual right to keep and bear arms, as the Supreme Court ruled last year. The NRA blasts Sotomayor for not going beyond that ruling to declare that the Second Amendment prohibits states from adopting restrictions on that individual right. Some would call that judicial activism. Sotomayor correctly followed the high court’s existing case law. Two of the leading conservative lights on the federal appeals courts — Judges Richard A. Posner and Frank H. Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit — agreed.