10.17.2012 0

Tester’s Supreme Court votes threaten 2nd Amendment

The Supreme CourtBy Rick Manning — Joe Biden got one thing right in his debate with Paul Ryan – the next four years are likely to bring multiple picks to the Supreme Court of the United States and the implications have never been more important for Montanans who support gun rights.

No matter who makes the picks, Montana needs a U.S. Senator who will make support for the right to keep and bear arms a litmus test in order to receive their vote.   No negotiation, no wiggle room, the Supreme Court nominee either believes in the individual right to bear arms or they don’t.

With the 2nd Amendment in the balance, the question for Montana voters is whether they trust Jon Tester to make this critical decision, or would he waffle and continue his history of voting for Supreme Court Justices who oppose individual gun rights.

In the wake of the groundbreaking Heller decision, which affirmed that the Second Amendment does indeed protect the individual right to keep and bear arms for law-abiding citizens, the next generation of Supreme Court justices have become even more important.   It will be these jurists who face challenges to Heller that will either make it a defining case or an anomaly that can be ignored.

The dangerous truth is that Tester has only had two votes to confirm Supreme Court Justices, and he voted to send by Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor to the bench.

It cannot be dismissed that Sotomayor then turned around to vote against Heller, falling just one vote shy of effectively wiping the 2nd Amendment off of the books.  Few believe that the Tester supported Kagan would not join Sotomayor in this vote if given a chance.

After being zero for two in protecting your rights in the most important votes he will ever make on gun rights, can you trust Jon Tester to get it right if given a third, fourth or fifth try?

It is expected that politicians will promise to support what they think gun owners want.  They might even occasionally vote that way.  In a tight election year, they might even sponsor some legislation with a title like The Sportsman Protection Act to give an impression of undying support.

But when they get 2,000 miles away from their constituents and they have to choose whether to support or oppose a presidential appointee for the Supreme Court it gets hairy.  Sponsoring look and feel good legislation is one thing, opposing your president on a Supreme Court appointment quite another, and if Obama is the one making the appointment, it will get rougher still for a Democrat in D.C., no matter where he/she runs for office from every six years.

Now that the Supreme Court has entered the fray on gun rights after 80 years of silence, the Senate’s role in confirming justices is more important than ever.  The Second Amendment protections for you, your children and future generations are at the mercy of nine people in robes sitting in Washington, D.C.

In the past six years, Jon Tester has rubber stamped two anti-gun justices onto the Supreme Court.  The question is will Montana voters hold him accountable?

The gun rights of an entire nation may just hinge on their choice.

Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government, and was an National Rifle Association state liaison for nine years.

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