Washington, D.C., July 9, 2018 - This evening, President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, replacing retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence expressed serious apprehension over the nomination, citing Judge Kavanaugh’s previous hostility to common-sense gun safety laws.
Brady Campaign co-president Avery Gardiner:
“We don’t have to guess when it comes to Judge Kavanaugh’s track record on gun laws - he’s made it quite clear where he stands. And for a president who took more than $30 million from the NRA, Judge Kavanaugh is a perfect fit. This is a judge who sees no difference between assault weapons and handguns, and who has stated that there is no judicial role when it comes to regulating gun ownership. We call on Judge Kavanaugh to tell the American people clearly and plainly how he interprets the Second Amendment. If he is as hostile to gun laws as he appears to be, then we will fight this nomination tooth and nail.”
Brady Campaign co-president Kris Brown:
“The NRA paid good money to get this nomination, and make no mistake - they’re popping champagne as we speak. Wayne LaPierre called this no less than the ‘ultimate prize,’ and we can all expect the gun lobby to outspend the million dollars they spent during the last Supreme Court nomination to push for Judge Kavanaugh. We at Brady are not going to let that happen without a fight, and without demanding a rigorous and exacting standard of questioning for Judge Kavanaugh about his judicial record. Brady has been at the frontlines of the legal battles for gun safety for nearly three decades, and we will press forward with this important fight in the weeks, months, and years to come.”
Brady VP of Litigation Jonathan Lowy:
“Judge Kavanaugh must tell the American public whether he will protect their most important right — the right to be safe from gun violence — or whether he will cater to the gun lobby’s agenda to let virtually anyone carry any gun, any time, anywhere. At the end of the day, it’s a simple question. Do you believe that the right to guns overrides the right to be safe from being shot? If the answer is yes, you simply aren’t fit for a lifetime appointment to America’s highest court.”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh has a history of opposition to common-sense measures to promote gun safety.
- In Heller v. District of Columbia (note: this is a different case than the landmark Supreme Court decision in 2008), Judge Kavanaugh dissented from the panel opinion that upheld a city law banning possession of semi-automatic rifles and requiring registration of all guns. In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote that “there is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles.”
- Kavanaugh further wrote that “semi-automatic rifles have traditionally not been banned and are in common use today, and are thus protected” by the Second Amendment. This would run counter to what numerous federal courts have ruled, placing the viewpoint far outside the mainstream legal opinion.
- The dissent also read that there is an “absence of a role for judicial interest balancing or assessment of costs and benefits of gun regulation,” indicating that Kavanaugh would potentially rule against any sort of common sense gun safety laws.
- Of the panel of three Republican-appointed judges, Kavanaugh was the only one to dissent and argue that the assault weapon ban is unconstitutional.
The Brady Center also recently published a report on the 10-year anniversary of the landmark D.C. v. Heller Supreme Court case. The report:
- Discusses the reality of what Heller does and does not allow, including that there are clear and valid reasons for certain firearms, such as assault weapons, to be banned from personal use and possession;
- Explores the ongoing position, held by Brady and which numerous courts have agreed with, that the Heller decision can coexist with reasonable gun measures and laws; and
- Examines key developments over the past ten years, over which approximately 1,200 Second Amendment challenges have been considered by state and federal courts. Many of the disputes have focused on common-sense gun laws regarding public carry, assault weapons and large capacity magazine bans, prohibited purchasers and background checks, and gun safety regulations. In over 90% of these cases, the courts have sided with Brady’s interpretation of Heller. Notably, the Supreme Court has only agreed to hear one major Second Amendment case in the decade since Heller; a Court featuring Kavanaugh could choose to hear many more cases in the near future.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.