NRA Going All In For Gorsuch

The NRA-ILA reacted very quickly to the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. They released a statement within minutes as well as this graphic which was placed on Instagram.

NRA Applauds Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association (NRA) applauds the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the United States Supreme Court.

“President Trump has made an outstanding choice in nominating Judge Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. He has an impressive record that demonstrates his support for the Second Amendment,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, just as it did in confirming him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by a unanimous voice vote.”

During his tenure on the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch has demonstrated his belief that the Constitution should be applied as the framers intended. To that end, he has supported the individual right to self-defense. Specifically, he wrote in an opinion that “the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms and may not be infringed lightly.”

“On behalf of our five million members, the NRA strongly supports Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. We will be activating our members and tens of millions of supporters throughout the country in support of Judge Gorsuch. He will protect our right to keep and bear arms and is an outstanding choice to fill Justice Scalia’s seat,” concluded Cox.

And from Instagram:

We will need the NRA going all in for Judge Gorsuch as the battle lines were being drawn in minutes. The NY Times had an editorial out within minutes calling it a “stolen seat” and Merrick Garland “better qualified”. I’m sorry but mere tenure on the bench does not make you a better judge or better legal mind. It only means you are older.

SCOTUS Pick To Be Announced Tonight

President Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia will be announced tonight, in prime time, at 8pm EST. During the campaign, Mr. Trump released a list of 21 potential nominees. That list has been whittled down to the two or maybe three finalists.

The three reported to be on the final list are Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 11th Circuit, and Judge William Pryor of the 5th Circuit. Of those three, Judge Pryor is considered to be the most contentious choice as he was barely confirmed when appointed to the Court of Appeals. He is also a protegee’ of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.

According to CNN, Judges Hardiman and Gorsuch have been brought to Washington which would seem to indicate it is now down to those two.

The SCOTUS Blog has done a good job of summarizing the background of the three finalists.

All three are youngish, conservative, and have good credentials. However, only Judge Hardiman has ruled on Second Amendment issues directly. He had a 40-page dissent in Drake v. Filko which centered around the impediments that New Jersey puts on obtaining a carry permit. His dissent would make him appear to believe that the right of self-defense is guaranteed both inside and outside the home. Second Amendment attorneys David Jensen and Alan Gura were the attorneys of record for the plaintiff in the appeal. Jensen commented on a post I had on Facebook today that he thought it was a good dissent. That sounds good to me.
Of course, given President Trump, this could all be window-dressing and he nominates either Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). They would already be in DC and bringing Judges Hardiman and Gorsuch to town was to throw off the media.

UPDATE: Politico and Independent Journal Review are reporting that “Trump insiders” have confirmed that Judge Neil Gorsuch will get the nod. We’ll see.

UPDATE II: Interesting trivia on Judge Gorsuch – his mother was Ronald Reagan’s first head of the EPA, Anne Gorsuch, who was forced out of office over a House contempt citation pertaining to toxic waste clean-up records. She was never charged with a crime despite allegations.

Obama Nominates Seven For US District Court Judgeships

On Wednesday, President Obama sent the names of seven nominees to the Senate for US District Court judgeships. Unfortunately, I don’t know where any of them stand on Second Amendment issues. According to the White House statement, they “represent my continued commitment to ensure that the judiciary resembles the nation it serves.”

The last nominee on this list, Derrick Watson of Hawaii, graduated from Harvard Law with Obama in 1991.

Valerie E. Caproni: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Valerie E. Caproni is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Northrop Grumman Corporation.  Previously, she served for eight years as General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Caproni has had a distinguished legal career in both private practice and public service, including stints at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the New York State Urban Development Corporation, and the law firms of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Cravath, Swaine & Moore.  She began her legal career by clerking for the Honorable Phyllis Kravitch of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  Caproni received her J.D. summa cum laude in 1979 from the University of Georgia School of Law and her B.A. magna cum laude in 1976 from Newcomb College of Tulane University. 

Kenneth John Gonzales:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
Kenneth John Gonzales currently serves as the United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, a position he has held since 2010.  Prior to his confirmation by the Senate, Gonzales spent eleven years working in the same office as an Assistant United States Attorney.  In 2001, he was commissioned an officer in the United States Army Reserve.  He presently holds the rank of Major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and is an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Law at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.  From 1996 to 1999, Gonzales worked as a Legislative Assistant for United States Senator Jeff Bingaman.  He began his legal career clerking for the Honorable Joseph Baca, Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, from 1994 to 1996.  Gonzales received his J.D. in 1994 from the University of New Mexico School of Law and his B.A. in 1988 from the University of New Mexico.

Raymond P. Moore: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
Raymond P. Moore currently serves as the Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Colorado and Wyoming, a position he has held since January 2004.  Previously, he was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Colorado from 1993 through 2003.  From 1986 through 1992, Moore worked at the law firm of Davis, Graham & Stubbs in Denver, Colorado, becoming a partner in 1987.  Beginning in 1982, he spent four years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Colorado.  He began his legal career as an associate at Davis, Graham & Stubbs from 1978 to 1982.  Moore received his J.D in 1978 from Yale Law School and his B.A. cum lade in 1975 from Yale College. 

Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell currently serves as a Superior Court Judge for Los Angeles County in California, a position she has held since 2005.  For a five-month period in 2010 and 2011, she sat by designation on the California Court of Appeals for the Second District, Division 8, and has since served as Assistant Supervising Judge of the North Valley District of the Superior Court.  Prior to becoming a judge, Judge O’Connell served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California from 1995 to 2005.  From 1990 until 1995, she worked at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, where she handled a variety of civil litigation matters.  Judge O’Connell received her J.D. magna cum laude in 1990 from Pepperdine University School of Law and her B.A. in 1986 from the University of California at Los Angeles. 

Judge William L. Thomas:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Judge William L. Thomas has served as a Circuit Judge in Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit since 2005, where he has presided over both civil and criminal matters.  For seven years, from 1997 to 2005, he served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Southern District of Florida, where he represented indigent clients in federal criminal cases.  Judge Thomas began his legal career as an Assistant Public Defender at the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office in 1994.  He received his J.D. in 1994 from the Temple University School of Law and his B.A. in 1991 from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Judge Analisa Torres:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Judge Analisa Torres currently serves as a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, where she has handled criminal felony cases since 2010.  Judge Torres served as an Acting Justice of the same court in Bronx County from 2004 to 2009.  From 2003 to 2004, she was a judge on the New York Civil Court and from 2000 to 2002 she was a judge on the New York Criminal Court.  From 1992 to 1999, Judge Torres clerked for the Honorable Elliot Wilk of the New York State Supreme Court.  She also served as a Commissioner of the New York City Planning Commission from 1993 to 1995.  During the early portion of her legal career, Judge Torres worked for seven years as a real estate associate at three New York City law firms.  Judge Torres received her J.D. in 1984 from Columbia Law School and her A.B. magna cum laude in 1981 from Harvard College.

Derrick Kahala Watson:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii
Derrick Kahala Watson has been an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Hawaii since 2007, and has served as Chief of the Civil Division since 2009.  Previously, he worked at the San Francisco law firm of Farella Braun + Martel LLP, where his practice focused on product liability, toxic tort, and environmental cost recovery litigation.  He joined the firm in 2000 and was named partner in 2003.  Watson was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of California from 1995 to 2000, serving as Deputy Chief of the Civil Division from 1999 to 2000.  He began his legal career at the law firm of Landels, Ripley & Diamond in San Francisco, where he was an associate from 1991 to 1995.  Watson received his J.D. in 1991 from Harvard Law School, his A.B. in 1988 from Harvard College, and is a 1984 graduate of The Kamehameha Schools.