Judge Amy Coney Barrett Sticks to Her Guns in Confirmation Hearing

By Larry Keane

Judge Amy Coney Barrett showed the nation several things for which she won’t apologize during her nomination hearings. IMG NRA-ILA

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Judge Amy Coney Barrett showed the nation several things for which she won’t apologize during her nomination hearings. She won’t apologize for her keen intellect, her dedication to an originalist interpretation of the law and she won’t apologize for being a gun owner.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) quickly got to the point on gun rights.

“Okay. So when it comes to your personal views about this topic, do you own a gun?” he asked.

“We do own a gun,” Judge Barrett replied.

“Okay. All right. Do you think you could fairly decide a case even though you own a gun?” Sen. Graham continued.

“Yes,” she said.

With that, Judge Barrett told the committee and America that she doesn’t view the Second Amendment as a matter of rhetorical legal debate. Judge Barrett is a gun owner. She exercises her right to keep and bear arms. She also confirmed to Sen. Graham that Heller affirmed an individual’s right to keep and bear and that if a state or local government passed a law contrary to that finding, the Supreme Court would be required to hear that case if the appeals made it all the way up.

Troubling Gun Rights

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned Judge Barrett on gun ownership especially her dissent in Kanter v Barr where she argued the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was wrong for denying a nonviolent felon gun rights based in the original text of the Second Amendment and gun laws at the nation’s founding. Sen. Feinstein posed her question, noting, “…there’s been a troubling spike in gun sales. Americans bought approximately two million guns this past March.”

“I think what I can say is that my opinion in Kanter shows how I approach questions as a matter of judicial philosophy,” Judge Barrett explained. “I mean, I spent a lot of time in that opinion looking at the history of the Second Amendment and looking at the Supreme Court’s cases, and so the way in which I would approach the review of gun regulation is in that same way, to look very carefully at the text, to look carefully at what the original meaning was. That was the method that both the majority and dissent in Heller took. So, I promise that I would come to that with an open mind, applying the law as I could best determine it.”

Her Jurisprudence

In fact, Judge Barrett chose a Second Amendment case, her dissent in Kanter v Barr, as the most significant case upon which she was asked to decide in a 65-page questionnaire provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee before the hearings.

“Looking to Founding-era history, I explained that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns, but that power extends only to people who are dangerous, not to nonviolent felons like Mr. Kanter,” she wrote in her questionnaire response.

Judge Barrett later explained to Sen. Feinstein in her questions that her application of the Second Amendment is indicative of her belief in originalism. She explained that the law is written as it is for a reason and that judges can’t presuppose or interject their personal biases into written law.

“What I can say is that my opinion and Kanter shows my judicial philosophy,” Judge Barrett said. “I spend a lot of time looking at the history of the Second Amendment and Supreme Court cases. The way in which I would approach the review of gun regulations is in the same way. To look very carefully at the text, to look at what the original meaning was. I promise I would come to that with an open mind, applying the law as I can best determine it.”

Legal Heavyweight

Judge Barrett left many of the U.S. senators slack-jawed. She didn’t take the bait and simply outpaced them when it came to understanding of the law. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) made a ham-fisted attempt to pin Judge Barrett to specific definitions of the Second Amendment and her judicial philosophy of originalism.

“I’m not going to go so far back in history, but I’m going to take you back in history for a moment, and note that when that Second Amendment was written, and you did the analysis of it, we were talking about the likelihood that a person could purchase a muzzle-loading musket,” Sen. Durbin said.

But Sen. Durbin was purposefully misstating the Second Amendment. The amendment doesn’t include “muzzle-loading muskets.” It says “arms.” He was attempting to pin literalism on Judge Barrett and not originalism. Sen. Durbin was purposefully disingenuous to box in the Second Amendment to a strict 18th Century view of the technology, despite the rifles of the time being military arms, Kentucky Long Rifles capable of shooting accurately to 300 yards and multi-shot firearms were invented and in existence, at the time the Bill of Rights was drafted.

Further, Judge Barrett left some senators completely flat-footed in the understanding of what her role would be on the bench and what the senator’s job is in the legislature. She was asked time and again, if she would commit herself to specific policy positions, and not just those confined to gun rights. She explained to Sen. Graham that’s not the judge’s role.

“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say ‘I have an agenda. I like guns. I hate guns. I like abortion. I hate abortion.’ and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Judge Barrett explained.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered her the opportunity to confirm to the audience of lawmakers that they, in fact, create laws and set policy. Judges decide if those policies are lawful.

“Many Democratic members of this committee seem to be treating this hearing as a policy hearing on what’s good healthcare policy, what’s good gun policy, what’s good voting rights policy,” Sen. Cruz said. “Judge Barrett, in your view, is it the responsibility of a federal judge to implement policy positions that they might happen to agree with?”

“That’s your job, not a judge’s,” Judge Barrett said.

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The only thing the Democrats can find wrong with her is that she will interpret the law as it was written and not as the liberals want it interpreted and applied.


Right, Will, it would be treated as a second legislative branch


I too was very impressed with Judge Barrett. The way she stayed on point by not allowing the democrats to trip her up or trap her with their talking points. I will reserve further judgement on the type of judge she will be until after she has made a few decisions/votes on upcoming Court cases. We’ve all had the warm and fuzzyies about new judges in the past and have been brought back to earth by how they voted on cases. So for now I’ll be content with seeing her on the Supreme Court. Beyond that it’s wait and see.… Read more »

uncle dudley

The supreme court lost it’s way along time ago by inflecting personal opinion and political bias into their decisions, hopefully judge Barrett will live up to her word using the founding documents to guide her decisions.


I am really proud of her. She is a very smart lady and had all the answers before they asked the question. She definitely put them in their place when needed and saw all the traps when they were laid in front of her and didn’t fall into any of them. I really believe that she will uphold the constitution as it was written and not manipulate it into something that has transformed to meet a new opinion, view or FEELING. I watched at least 80% and I determined that I thought she would be a good judge after two… Read more »


She’s smarter and much better looking than the female frogs that are on their now, glad Ichabod Crane is gone.


Judge Barrett is far more, exponentially more qualified to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
than Ginsburg ever was.


I think this Lady will officiate as well as she testifies. All the “Slivey Tove” democRATS haven’t been able to pin her down like a mounted butterfly with their “Gotcha”, subversive questions. She answers truthfully, and there isn’t one of them able to handle it ! HEH !


she will make a fine judge way better then lots others


Talk about Class , Patience and intellect. If any person deserves that position it’s Barrett.


On the old canard that the 2nd Amendment applies to only muskets and firearms of the day when the 2nd was ratified, in order to come to that view one must also say that the 1st Amendment applies only to the religions that were practiced at that time and only to the hand-operated printing presses of that time, therefore concluding that Mormonism isn’t covered, nor is anything but a newspaper printed on a non-electric press (as opposed to a “high capacity” press, much less the internet). She said the best words I could hope to hear from a judicial nominee,… Read more »