Gun Rights Activists Claim Judicial Nominee's Scalp


Judge Caitlin Halligan fails to pass the Senate to get on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, victim of filibuster.

The Committee for Justice credits opposition from gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, for scuttling her chances, and claims this marks the Second Amendment as "the new abortion":

Halligan's defeat is part of a pattern that confirms our prediction that gun rights would become the "new abortion" in judicial confirmation battles. As CFJ's Curt Levey explained in a 2009 op-ed:

"[With] the Supreme Court's 2008 [Heller] decision recognizing the Second Amendment as an individual right … the Justices transferred the theater of war from legislatures to the judiciary. …That's why I and others predicted that gun owners – their fate tied to the selection of judges in the wake of Heller – would emerge as a potent part of the coalition advocating … for judges who strictly interpret the Constitution."

The emergence of the gun issue began early in President Obama's first term when he nominated three controversial district court nominees: Louis Butler (WI), Edward Chen (CA), and John McConnell (RI). All three posed a clear danger of judicial activism, but only Butler had a troubling Second Amendment record. As a result, Butler still languishes in the Senate and will not be confirmed, while Chen and McConnell eventually won Senate confirmation.