Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump mentionedthe Supreme Court during their first bout on the presidential debate schedule despite keen interest in most of the electorate. Both Clinton and Trump have mentioned in their appearances in the past that they promise to nominate justices to the high court that accord with their party’s views about issues such as abortion and Second Amendment rights.
In their debate in New York, Clinton made her usual pitch for “common sense gun safety measures” for firearms. But in recent days, as Election Day draws nigh, she has not mentioned her criteria for choosing judges to sit on the Supreme Court.
During the Democrat National Convention, Clinton was much more open about what she wants to see in the Supreme Court. For example, she has suggested that people should be allowed to sue gun manufacturers if a gun they produced was used in a crime, despite being sold legally. Lawsuits against firearms manufacturers for damages caused by the illegal use of guns could put them out of business.
Clinton said, “I'm not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I'm not here to take away your guns.” By making guns and ammunition prohibitively expensive through legislation that the Supreme Court approves could effectively annul the Second Amendment for many Americans by putting guns out of reach. Having the right people on the court if imperative for the Democrats’ agenda to advance.
A report in The Hill revealed eleven contenders to fill the seat vacated upon the death earlier this year of Justice Antonin Scalia. Among them is Merrick Garland, who was nominated this summer by President Barack Obama.
To the above may be added Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was rumored to be one of Obama’s top choices to replace Scalia. Reportedly, Lynch decided against the nomination and argued that it would interfere with her current job. She and the others are presumed to hew to the Democrat side of the aisle and towards further restrictions on the Second Amendment.
Could it be that Clinton is seeking to allay the fears of centrists on the issue of gun control by keeping mum about her choices for the Supreme Court?
Chelsea spills the beans
Chelsea Clinton, who has taken an active role in the campaign by giving speeches and visiting the stricken city of Flint (Mich.), for example, was not so demur this year when speaking to a rally of supporters in Maryland about guns. In April, Chelsea told her listeners that there is an opportunity to pass gun control bills because of the absence of Justice Scalia. “It matters to me that my mom also recognizes the role the Supreme Court has when it comes to gun control. With Justice Scalia on the bench, one of the few areas where the Court actually had an inconsistent record relates to gun control,” Chelsea said. “Sometimes the Court upheld local and state gun control measures as being compliant with the Second Amendment and sometimes the Court struck them down.”
Chelsea praised her mother’s stance on gun control while acknowledging the power the court has to severely limit Second Amendment rights. “If you listen to Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign and the major efforts pushing for smart, sensible and enforceable gun control across our country, disclosure, that have endorsed my mom, they say they believe the next time the Court rules on gun control, it will make a definitive ruling,” Chelsea said. “So it matters to me that my mom is the only person running for president who not only constantly makes that connection but also has a strong record on gun control and standing up to the NRA.”
Chelsea got personal with her pitch by bringing up her own family. “This is one of those issues I didn’t know I could care more about until I became a mother. And I think every day about the Sandy Hook families whose children every day, don’t come home from school. And I can’t even imagine that living horror and tragedy.”
Mother Hillary Clinton severely criticized her primary opponent -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is further to the left on a number of issues -- for his approach to guns. While he shared her support for instant background checks and other gun control measures, he was opposed to holding manufacturers liable for criminal acts caused by their products. Clinton roundly criticized Sanders for supporting the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Guns Act of 2005, which flouted demands made by gun control advocates. Sanders had admitted that millions of gun owners obey the law, while saying that he could “bring us to the middle” on Second Amendment rights. This did not satisfy Clinton, who relied on gun control groups to get her over the hurdle in the primaries this year. It also earned her an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association, having routinely assailed Sanders from the left on one of the most emotional and contentious issues of all.