04.11.2016 1

Pro-gun Senate Democrats have a choice to make on SCOTUS

us constitution


By Rick Manning

Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) need to stand by the 2nd Amendment and reject President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.

The decisions that these four Democrat Senators make will likely define their legacies in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Justice who replaces Antonin Scalia will determine the balance of power on the Court, and there are no do-overs.

President Obama has waged a determined and largely failed campaign against the individual right to keep and bear arms due to the Supreme Court’s seminal Heller decision that affirmed that the Second Amendment is indeed a protection of those individual rights.

These Senators in their own rights — Heitkamp, Manchin, Bennet and Donnelly — ran as pro-gun rights Democrats, and now is the time to prove it, by rejecting Garland and affirming that the D.C. v. Heller decision is the law of the land.

The Garland appointment is Obama’s lame duck last chance to overturn Heller and impose some strange collective construct to the clear words written into the Constitution as a primary protection against abusive government that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’

Heitkamp, Manchin, Bennet and Donnelly will not face any other decision more important than the one confronting them with this Obama nominee.

There will be no hiding behind press statements decrying Court rulings if they vote to confirm Obama’s choice, rather than allowing the upcoming Presidential election to decide the future direction of the Supreme Court and indeed the nation as a whole.

Take Heitkamp. Her call for Senate consideration Garland raises the question of just how much Washington, D.C. has changed her. The Heitkamp who effectively killed anti-gun measures through her courageous opposition in the wake of Sandy Hook is needed right now, yet in her call for confirmation hearings she is putting the individual right to keep and bear arms at peril.

Rather than play this risky political game with the Constitution, Heitkamp and her colelagues need to return to first principles and let the people of the United States decide through their selection of the next President the direction of the Supreme Court.

No amount of rhetoric, campaign commercials or votes in Congress can overcome the damage done by an end of term Obama Supreme Court nominee, and Heitkamp’s giving aid and comfort to a judicial foe of the right to keep and bear arms should be denounced by all of her constituents as irresponsibly dangerous.

Together, Heitkamp, Manchin, Donnelly and Bennet need to send a strong message to the entire country that our individual rights are not political play things, that Heller is the law of the land, and that they support allowing the people decide through their votes, the future direction of our nation.

Time will tell which choice they make, but these supposed pro-gun rights Democrats must remember — there are no do-overs — and the American people who continue to support the 2nd Amendment will remember.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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