The Supreme Court of the United States historic building

The Second Amendment is fundamental to American culture.

Liberty rings only when struck by democracy. The Second Amendment, then, allows liberty to sing with every lawful crack of ammunition echoing from the barrels of American firearms.

The Supreme Court is key to increasing the volume of our melodic liberty. The justices appointed to the Supreme Court play a vital role in developing and interpreting the Second Amendment.

Therefore, pro-gun, conservative Supreme Court justices are immeasurably valuable to the gun community, which should scrutinize who is on this "politically-removed" judicial panel and how they might develop the Second Amendment for decades and centuries to come.

Recently Appointed Pro-Gun Supreme Court Justices

Neil M. Gorsuch, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice

President Donald Trump appointed pro-gun Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch on April 6, 2017 a year after the death of sharp-witted Antonin Scalia, who took his seat on the panel in 1986 after being appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

Both are conservative presidents with right-leaning ideals. Both justices have a history of legally conservative rulings in court cases.

That's no coincidence.

The future of the Supreme Court was the most crucial factor of the 2016 presidential election, according to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

While Antonin Scalia's confirmation was a unanimous 98-0 vote in the Senate, according to Oyez, Gorsuch's confirmation vote was 54-45.

Based on Federal Government data, here's a bit of context on the other current Supreme Court Justices that lean conservative.

Included is each justice's Segal-Cover Score, which is a recognized attempt to quantify a justice's "perceived qualifications and ideology" based on a scale of 0 (most conservative) to 100 (most liberal) from pre-confirmation newspaper editorials from several major media organizations.

  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was appointed by President George H.W Bush (R.) in 1991 and was confirmed by a 52-48 vote. His overall ideology Segal-Cover Score: 16. Civil rights: 23. Criminal Procedure: 21. Economic cases: 40. Federal tax: 57. Federalism cases: 44. First Amendment: 29. Union cases: 32. He's participated in 1,666 cases in his 25 years as an Associate Justice.
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan (R.) in 1988 and was confirmed by a 97-0 vote. His overall ideology Segal-Cover Score: 36. Civil rights: 42. Criminal procedure: 32. Economic cases: 43. Federal tax: 79. Federalism cases: 53. First Amendment: 44. Union cases: 39. He's participated in 2,131 cases in his 29 years as an Associate Justice.
  • Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was appointed by President George W. Bush (R.) in 2005 and was confirmed by a 78-22 vote. His overall ideology Segal-Cover Score: 12. Civil rights: 40. Criminal procedure: 28. Economic cases: 38. Federal tax: 85. Federalism cases: 68. First Amendment: 33. Union cases: 50. He's participated in 498 cases in his 11 years as Chief Justice.
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito was appointed by President George W. Bush (R.) in 2006 and was confirmed by a 58-42 vote. His overall ideology Segal-Cover Score: 10. Civil rights: 37. Criminal procedure: 19. Economic cases: 37. Federal tax: 85. Federalism cases: 61. First Amendment: 21. Union cases: 44. He's participated in 467 cases in his 11 years as an Associate Justice.

David Souter was another Republican justice who sat on the bench from 1990 to 2009, having been appointed by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed in a 90-9 vote in the Senate.

It's not enough to "lean conservative" to be considered pro-gun.

Legitimate court case rulings and court opinions should be the real judge. The issue is that this legitimately has not been possible.

Recent Supreme Court Justice Votes on Second Amendment Court Cases

Court cases and guns

The issue with counting votes on recent Second Amendment Court Cases is that there are hardly any recent Second Amendment Court Cases.

Justice Thomas pointed this out when the writ for certiorari, a means by a which a case can be brought forth to the U.S. Supreme Court, was denied for the Peruta v. California case, which would have been a way for the right to carry in public, not just the home, to be interpreted in the Second Amendment.

If this interests you, here's a blog post Bigfoot Gun Belts published on how Peruta v. California was almost a landmark Second Amendment Supreme Court case.

From the 2010 McDonald v. Chicago case to when the Peruta v. California case was declined in June 2017, there were 35 First Amendment cases and 25 Fourth Amendment cases, but no Second Amendment cases.

In the dissenting opinion, Thomas wrote,"The Court’s decision to deny certiorari in this case reflects a distressing trend: the treatment of the Second Amendment as a disfavored right."

Rewind to 2008, the majority vote in D.C. v. Heller ruled that "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

It was a 5-4 vote, with Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Scalia voting conservative. Scalia wrote the majority opinion, which should come as no surprise. He was well known for legal writing, and he wrote more concurring opinions than any other justice in Supreme Court history, according to Oyez.

The 2010 McDonald case extended the Heller decision to the rest of the states through the Fourteenth Amendment by a 5-4 decision. The same five voted in favor.

District of Columbia v. Heller 2008

The individual right to bear arms was settled in 2008, but it was previously brought forth to the Supreme Court in 1939 through the United States v. Miller Case that challenged the 1934 National Firearms Act.

The Supreme Court had unanimously voted against this idea in the 1939 case, reasoning that the possession of a sawed-off double barrel shotgun did not have a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.

The future of gun rights can come from public policy like national concealed carry reciprocity, sure, but the Supreme Court is a considerable battleground for constitutional interpretation.

With all due respect to and for the NRA, gun rights aren't just generated from state and federal laws backed by their considerable efforts.

Lifelong Supreme Court Justices will factually reside in their position longer than any publically elected bipartisan candidate will reside in theirs.

Jake Smith  

About The Author

Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the Pacific Northwest who enjoys shooting pictures and ammunition outdoors.

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