July 16th, 2009
04:44 PM ET
12 years ago

NRA, RNC target Sotomayor over gun rights

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee and Second Amendment advocates came down hard on Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Thursday for not directly answering a question on whether or not Americans have a right to bear arms.

More than seven weeks after President Obama named her as his Supreme Court pick, and nearly a week into her confirmation hearings, the National Rifle Association issued an official statement Thursday opposing her nomination.

The announcement came the same day the RNC released a new Web video showing an exchange between Sotomayor and Republican Sen. Tom Coburn over the "right to self-defense." Sotomayor told the Oklahoma senator that she didn't know if "that legal question has been ever presented" and called it an "abstract question."

"Judge Sotomayor, The Right To Bear Arms Isn't An Abstract Question," reads the screen in the video. "Do You Believe That Americans Have A Right To Bear Arms? Stop Evading, And Start Answering The Question."

Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association said Sotomayor has a "hostile view of the Second Amendment and the fundamental right of self-defense."

"Judge Sotomayor takes an opposite view, contrary to the views of our Founding Fathers, the Supreme Court, and the vast majority of the American people," LaPierre and Cox said in a statement. "We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self-defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land."

But Sotomayor got a nod from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which called her answers related to the Second Amendment "clear and responsible."

"The NRAs statement opposing Judge Sotomayor represents a shameful misrepresentation of her testimony as well as the law," Paul Helmke, the organization's president, said in a statement.

Filed under: NRA • RNC • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Turner

    Darth Vadik – So if someone breaks into you home and tries to harm you and your family with a firearm they gained illegally regardless of gun laws..... you are content with not being able to defend yourself and watching you or your family suffer?

    July 16, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Crazy ass human being

    Hey Gator! You small minded simpleton- -You guarantee none of your guns will be used to comitt a crime? Oh, yeah – – -unless another
    small minded simpleton like yourself blows his way into your house,
    blows you away and takes them from ya. Then blows away a few other people while trying to get away until someone blows him away.
    How many other morons think the way you do?

    July 16, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. SMJ in Florida

    This woman is PERFECT for America. I watched a lot of her "grilled" by the Repugs and I thought she handled herself very well. I actually watched this session (which many of you idiots probably didn't) and she refused to be put on the spot. Her answer, the correct one, is that each case must be decided on the BASIS OF LAW. I agree w/Larry...guns for protection or hunting is one thing, but just listen to your nightly news. How many people are killed by guns every day in your neighborhood (bad drug deals, murder, etc.). I will protect my family if they are in danger, but there is no need for an M-16. Sotomayor is FABULOUS!

    July 16, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. xavier

    Its fine to own a gun, so long as you are mentally capable of handeling the responsibility. You want a gun, fine, but lets first make sure you arent nuts. Lets have more effective background checks, and not wine when we have to wait a few weeks to get out gun. We dont need nut cases shooting up public buildings, supermarkets, schools or national monuments.

    July 16, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. hitobito

    seebofubar is the one that is without a doubt FUBAR. No bloody brain, and just poor enough to afford a lousy computer to spread his ignorance! I support the 2nd Amendment and keep fresh ammunition in the 160 round clips I own. I enjoy practice target shooting but will never regain the skills I once had as a US government sniper.

    July 16, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. no guns

    you say the nra and gun nuts kill people and the nra is to blaim for the school shootings so the idea is to take my guns away but when the guns are taken away from the ones who use them correctly what's going to happen when the gangsters and criminals get guns illegally and break in your home or rob you in the streets? america needs to wake up and see the felons and gang bangers are to blaim for the gun violance.

    July 16, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. kishen c.rao

    what a nonsense...they are targeting...absolutely ridiculous...ok...it is lobbying...out of brain, minds...let us nominate...if it were different would they do?????just don't care, nominate this lady...she is qualified...I am law grad, and have masters in law...not a lay man...ok...I am going through news everyday...ok she is more qualified...stop politics..here..for judicial division..res ipso loquitar...thing speaks for itself...ok, she is qualified...ok

    July 16, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. michaelam

    I am so tired of this gun nut lobby! If one wants to hunt...who cares, seriously. Hunting is not something that I would engage in, but if one gets some twisted charge out of killing animals, well, that's his/her issue. But, handguns and military assault type weapons need to go. The only purpose they serve is to kill and were never included as a "right" under the Second Amendment. I believe our founding fathers were referring tomuskats.

    Fair is Fair..........that argument is so old and useless. I've heard so many people use that same argument to convince me that handgun ownership is a good thing but, I will never change my mind. My dog alerts me about possibilities of strange activity and my bat is right behind my door!

    July 16, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. Micah

    I have to say all the crazy anti-gun people just perpetuate the problem. If everyone would try to moderate what they say we would not have guns and ammo sales at an all time high. There is such a huge divide in this country that when one side says they hate it the other side decides they have to love and support it financially.

    July 16, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. Reilly, IN

    Too late, as we speak someone is packing her things to move to Washington, D.C.

    GOPers get over yourselves and take your meds.

    P.S. The election is over, stop sulking.

    July 16, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. Len in Washington

    This is typical of the reasons why I am no longer a member of the NRA. She clearly stated that she is "completely open minded" about the right to bear arms.

    What I see in many of these posts is the response of people who have relegated themselves to nothing more than sheep when it comes to the ravings of LaPierre and Cox.

    PLEASE, people, remember that these guys are extremely highly paid "EMPLOYEES" of the NRA. Their interest here is (in all probablity) not the same as those who are really concerned about their rights. These guys are in it for the MONEY!
    Do you have "full faith" the CEOs of the Banks?
    Do you have "full faith" in mortgage brokers?"
    Get REAL! This is their BUSINESS for crying out loud and the more they can keep you stirred up the more money they will make. It's just that simple.
    While I think about it, when you go to your local gun shop and they fill you with all the same rhetoric as these two, just remember how much money their making from the guns they scare you into buying. This is a brilliant marketing scam that too many people are falling for.

    I AM a multiple gun owner and I'm sick of all the fear mongering that is based on nothing more than increased profit from the willingness of people who should know better.

    July 16, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Kenneth

    Right to self defense? What gun-nuts fail to remember, or admit, is that President Reagan was shot while surrounded by the best trained, heavily armed and professional body guards in the world. As was a Pope.

    And while the NRA is WHINING about rights, why don't they EVER talk about responsibility? The first day of every hunting season my mother's country neighbors lose livestock and pets to "hunters" who bought their beer, bullets and hunting licenses at the same corner store. But, somehow, they have the "right" to own firearms.

    July 16, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Kurt

    It seems as if the anti-2nd amendment comments are so off the wall that I have to wonder if they are being made just to incite anger???
    Can anyone on the anti2 side tell me why the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights? I would like to hear the answer to that please.

    One other thing, why does the liberal left always resort to name calling? Take note of that, conservatives are always idiots, fools, stupid, etc.
    I don't see it being reciprocated however. Just an interesting observation.

    July 16, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. L.B.

    If I did not have a 9MM in my home one night several years ago, I would have been raped and killed. So, all you bleeding heart, anti-gun wingnuts need to address the real issues and that is all the criminals that your weak, liberal laws let out of jail on good behavior. That was what my late night visitor was...a serial rapist, just let out for good behavior and decided to troll around my upper middle class neighborhood until he saw me mowing the yard and decided to come back and pay me a visit later that night..He will never bother me or anyone else again. Law abiding citizens wouldn't feel the need to arm themselves if our government and judicial system did their jobs. But then that wouldn't be politically correct, would it??

    July 16, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Phat Elvis

    i can see from all these posts that few people, including the NRA, understand how the judicial system works. the judge decides on a case based on the facts of the case. answereing hypotheticals does not shed any more light on on one's position on an issue because there is no CONTEXT, all you get is a sound byte that gets warped in the media.

    I guess that's too much to handle by those that claim they live their lives "knowing right from wrong". maybe you do in your life, but then you are not a supreme court justice either, where the shades of gray of all the decisions we make have national consequences.

    July 16, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. John Bates Thayer

    Questions for judge Sotomayor:

    Do you believe that the Bill of Rights in its entirety, the first ten Amendments to our Constitution, is incorporated against the States by the Fourteenth or any other Amendment to the Constitution or by any other binding legal precedent?

    Do you accept the finding of the Court in the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) that the rights of all citizens of the United States include but are not limited to the following, as redacted from the decision of the Court:

    "the right to enter every State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, AND TO KEEP AND CARRY ARMS WHEREVER THEY WENT." [emphasis added]

    The Court was of course enumerating rights it deemed could be denied to Black Americans. Today those and other rights must be applied equally to all citizens of the United States.

    July 16, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. Michael

    Right Janet like she did in the last anti-discrimination case she looked at. Law promotion can not be with held because of your race. The city well we didn't have enough minorities pass so it doesn't count and you 20 who were getting promoted are not.

    July 16, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. rev

    Sotomayor hasn't said boo about restricting gun rights. These NRA nuts and conservative bozos are trying to make an issue out of nothing. Next up will undoubtedly be gay flag burning by muslim abortiionists bent on terrorizing NASCAR. Grow up, people....

    July 16, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. JR

    I wondered when the NRA would crawl out from their rock to slam Sotomayor, does the phrase "too little, too late" mean anything to you sloped brow morons?

    July 16, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  20. Just My Opinion in Texas

    Dutch ... it's been illegal to own fully automatic weapons since 1923. As for the so-called "Assault" Weapons ban, that law is written so poorly that almost any firearm could be banned underneath it.

    Darth Vadik ... The Second Amendment is NOT just about personal protection ... it is about giving the American citizen the ability to stand against his/her own government , if need be. (At least it was when the Bill of Rights was written. 200+ years of military advances .. eh ... not so much now.) But the idea is still the same.

    As for gun laws in general ... I just have to ask the Democrats & Liberals one thing ... Criminals do NOT obey the VAST majority of laws on our books now ... WHY do you think another gun law will make a difference to them??

    Just asking.

    July 16, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. Alice Newman

    "nearly a week into her confirmation hearings, the National Rifle Association issued an official statement Thursday opposing her nomination...

    ***************** The NRA had that statement written months ago – before Souter even finished his resignation announcement.

    They didn't even bother to listen to the discussion: and no ... she wasn't about to render a decision on a case that hasn't even been filed! Heller took 2 years of court debate – the NRA wanted Sotomayer to comment in less than two minutes on a hypothetical!

    July 16, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. notorious

    We don't care about no stinking NRA has to say about Sotomayor. The NRA sucks and I don't like guns. The NRA is stupid and stupid people in the NRA kill people

    July 16, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. annie for Palin

    To Fair is Fair

    obama will even outlaw water pistols – some kid might have some fun with a water pistol rather than sitting still to be programmed by obama's youth camps.

    July 16, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |

    Yes answer the question all us ex-soldiers and people who have the right to defend their property from all the illegals burglars is not an abstract question.

    July 16, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. DaBird

    @ Darth Vadick........just because you disagree with the Constitution doesn't mean that everyone who owns a gun is a coward or a redneck. You must be a Pelosi supporter from SF with a small brain.

    July 16, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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