July 15th, 2009
05:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor denies prejudging gun-control issue

Sonia Sotomayor responded strongly to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions when he contended she had pre-judged the issue of gun control.
Sonia Sotomayor responded strongly to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions when he contended she had pre-judged the issue of gun control.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday strongly rejected a Republican senator's contention that she had pre-judged the issue of gun control, insisting at her confirmation hearing that wasn't true.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked if she would recuse herself from future gun control cases because she ruled in the past that the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment does not apply to state gun control laws.

"I have not made up my mind. I didn't say that I didn't believe it was fundamental," Sotomayor shot back.

She explained that the word "fundamental" in legal terms refers to whether a federal statute applies to the states. Her ruling cited by Sessions referred to a prior case that made the determination, Sotomayor said, so she was following the precedent.

Previously in the confirmation hearing that started Monday, Sotomayor said she recognizes an individual right to bear arms as recently identified by Supreme Court in the ruling District of Columbia v. Heller.

The recent Supreme Court 5-4 ruling concluded that a sweeping handgun ban in the nation's capital violated the constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. mjm

    Does it really matter?

    She is replacing a liberal judge. She is going to always side with the liberal judges. That 5-4 ruling on hand guns isn't going to change because of Sotomayor.

    However, what does matter is Obama's judgment. He could have picked anyone and he went with her. She has some very questionable decisions. From fire fighters to "wise Latina"....this is the best they could find?

    Not a solid pick....But that's Obama's fault.

    July 15, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  2. Will

    Ugh. Again Republicans trying to make a deal out of nothing.

    July 15, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. take all the guns away

    that way only the criminals have them, that will fix the problem

    July 15, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. demwit

    So..., is the right to free speech "fundamental" in her legal opinion??

    July 15, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. RealityKing

    The truely wise don't often claim that title, especially when putting race and gender in the same sentence..

    July 15, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Bpin

    Waste of time and our money. Minds are already made up. Nothing she can say or do will change the vote. She has sat at the table and said things that should scare some of our "leaders" to death, but what does it matter. Politics rule. Fairness? Are you kidding me? This woman could not be fair if her life depended on it, and she has told us that already!! Move on.

    July 15, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "She explained that the word "fundamental" in legal terms refers to whether a federal statute applies to the states."

    Absolute and total BS! A thoroughly transparent sophistry reflecting her thorough contempt for the intelligence of the Senate.

    This woman is squirming like a stepped-on snake!

    Sotomayor is a vast mass of prejudices for which she uses the euphemism "empathy." Prejudices against white men, prejudices against guns. Her mind is made up and she has no interest at all in being confused by the facts.

    July 15, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. Scott, Tucson

    She's not very bright after all is she...

    July 15, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. Jerry Lucas Indiana

    But of course she says that now because she wants the job. Wiht a lot of things she has said she is clear on this we have no rights to guns in her eyes. In fact if you are a white male you are stupid and have no rights.

    Really can we put some like this on the bench I know of a lot very good womne that could have been a better pick but, that is not the plan.

    July 15, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. the rector

    Under the provisions of the tenth amendment, the individual right to bear arms is not left to the states to decide. The constitution clearly states that the individuals right to bear arms shall not be infringed upon by the government. The tenth amendment states that powers not specificaly granted to the fed are the domain of the states, however by stating that individuals have the right to bear arms that power is clearly reserved for the fed. Nobody has the authority to strike that fundimental right from the constitution no matter what. Until the people of this country decide to trust the government with their very lives and turn over their guns willingly, as well as change the constitution this is a non issue. Any waffeling on this point is political speak and should be regarded as a weakness of character as well as a fundimental failure to understand the roll of the constitution in the interaction between fed and state.If this jurist "hasn't made up her mind" then she has no buisness on the bench, there is nothing to think about. The second amendment is the reason we enjoy the level of freedom that we have in this country, anyone who doubts that should remember Tienamen Square.

    July 15, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  11. Charlie in Maine

    Every once in a while I agree with the fringe-right on something. Here it is: I say not only do we have the right to bear arms we have the responsibility to. So on this one I am with the strict constitutionalists and the gun lobby. Of course we must realize that the "muskett" is what we have a right to bear. It is a fine weapon and it does eveything you could want to have a gun for:
    1. It will take down a moose deer, bear or elk. You have to be a good shot but isn't that the point?

    2. It is great for target practice

    3.Given it's size and blasting power it is perfect for self defense and as a deterrant to home intruders.

    It has the added benefit of being a chore to reload. Going "postal"? you will get tackeld before to can get the powder in. You must be sure of your target . Is anyone going to lug these things around for random acts of violence.

    Drive by shootings? not on your life. Best of all it is hard to conceal. Never understood the idea of a "concealed weapon" if you got one let the bad guys see it!.and the bigger the better.

    So go out everyone and "get thee a muskett" and keep you powder dry.

    July 15, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  12. penny lane

    why all the pointless questions? My guess is to get the right to get their undies in a bunch. The left doesn't care about resonable firearms just like the right doesn't care about the lefts ...wow,can't think of a thing. The right tends to judge . The left tends to react to the judgemental, after they listen. Call yourself what you want, try listening to yourself first. If you were at all caring "individuals" you would see that we all want whats best for us "all". Keep your guns... If your worried about your guns... You've got bigger problems than the average american.

    July 16, 2009 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
1 2 3