The Past and Future Role of the Second Amendment and Gun Control in Fights Over Confirmation of Supreme Court Nominees

Northeastern University Law Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, p. 123, 2011

52 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2011

See all articles by Allen Rostron

Allen Rostron

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law

Abstract

America’s elected representatives do many things well, but making firearms policies and assessing Supreme Court nominees are two with which they have struggled.

Gun control is one of the most volatile public policy issues. Many contend that a heavy price is paid every day because of inadequate controls on firearms. Others believe that legal restrictions on guns are counterproductive and that the freedom to have guns is in peril. This gun control versus gun rights debate has become deeply enmeshed in the political culture wars.

Similarly, few have good things to say about how the U.S. Senate reviews nominations of Supreme Court justices. Hypocrisy abounds as senators decry tactics and arguments used against a nominee they favor, but turn around and employ the same methods when they oppose a nominee. Meanwhile, nominees decline to answer questions that would reveal their views about any controversial issue.

This Article looks at the intersection of these two much-maligned areas of law, politics, and policy. It reviews the role that gun issues have played in the Senate’s consideration of Supreme Court nominations, particularly the three most recent nominees (Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) and it aims to provoke thinking about these issues in future confirmations.

The confirmation process is far from perfect, but the dialogue between nominees and senators can promote more precise and reasoned consideration of important issues. A reasonable and thoughtful airing of differing views about guns at Supreme Court confirmation hearings will not eliminate the bitterness and stubbornness of the debate over guns in America, but it is a small step in the right direction.

Keywords: gun control, firearms, Second Amendment, Supreme Court, nomination, confirmation

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30, K40

Suggested Citation

Rostron, Allen K., The Past and Future Role of the Second Amendment and Gun Control in Fights Over Confirmation of Supreme Court Nominees. Northeastern University Law Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, p. 123, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1879297

Allen K. Rostron (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law ( email )

5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
114
Abstract Views
1,150
rank
242,198
PlumX Metrics