Supremely Scary

Potential Stevens' successors are no friends of the Second Amendment

The good news is Justice John Paul Stevens, 89, who was appointed to U.S. Supreme Court nearly 35 years ago by Gerald Ford, announced his retirement from the bench on Friday, April 9.

The bad news is President Barack Obama gets to select his successor.

The gallery of potential candidates, assembled by David Kopel, research director for the Independence Institute and associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner Kurt Hoffman, does not present a pleasant picture for Second Amendment advocates.

Kopel identifies potential nominee Harold Hongju Koh, the legal adviser for the State Department, as a "strongly-ideological, highly-committed gun prohibitionist" who presents the biggest danger to individual liberties if selected to the nation's highest court.

Kopel's other speculative selectees include Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, 7th Circuit Judge Diane Wood, D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and animal rights attorney Cass Sunstein, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

A very scary crew.

Hoffmann, for the most part, identifies the same set of likely candidates although he believes Wood and Garland, who "both have some pretty blatantly anti-gun rights jurisprudence in their history," are frontrunners, along with Kagan.

Kopel defines Kagan's Second Amendment views as "unknown," but Hoffman dug up testimony during her solictor general confirmation hearings during which she offered "little sign of interest in advancing gun rights."

For instance, Hoffman writes, not only did she vow to "'continue to defend' against constitutional challenges on various federal regulations concerning firearms," but demonstrated a willingness to "'interpret' the Constitution through a foreign lens: She says that foreign law can be used to interpret the U.S. Constitution in 'some circumstances,' like the Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment."