Another week, another Biden-Harris campaign refusal to level with the American voter on the issue of turning the federal judiciary into a second partisan legislative branch of government. At Wednesday’s vice presidential debate, Vice President Mike Pence asked Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) if a Biden-Harris administration would attempt to add seats to the U.S. Supreme Court. Just as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden declined to answer this question during the first presidential debate, Harris did not answer this simple question.
Pence posed the following question to Harris, “If Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, are you and Joe Biden, if somehow you win this election, going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?” When Harris initially refused to answer, Pence reiterated, “People are voting right now. They’d like to know if you and Joe Biden are gonna pack the Supreme Court if you don’t get your way in this nomination.” Again, Harris did answer the question.
After repeated non-answers from Harris, the debate moderator attempted to bail out the senator from California by moving on to another topic. In response, a polite but forceful Pence noted, “I just want the record to reflect, she never answered the question. Perhaps at the next debate Joe Biden will answer the question. And I think the American people know the answer.”
The Vice President is right. The American people do know the answer. Given Biden and Harris’s steadfast refusal to state their position on such a monumental and unpopular policy measure, it is rational for concerned citizens to conclude the worst.
Further, New York Times reporter Alexander Burns has stated that Harris told her that she was interested in packing the U.S. Supreme Court. Burns was recorded stating, “Senator Harris told me in an interview actually that she was absolutely open to doing that…”
It was a narrow 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that concluded in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. A similarly narrow 5-4 majority also incorporated that right to the states in McDonald v. Chicago. Even with a majority of justices that recognize the proper individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, the narrow majority has proven reluctant to vindicate this right when presented with the opportunity.
Second Amendment supporters cannot afford to permit a Biden-Harris administration and Democrat-controlled Senate to pack the U.S. Supreme Court with anti-gun justices. Especially when both Biden and Harris have made clear that they do not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.
During a September 2019 “townhall” event, Biden was asked, “Do you agree with the D.C. v. Heller decision in regards to protecting the individual right to bear arms that are in common use and which are utilized for lawful purposes?”
Biden responded in part, “If I were on the court I wouldn’t have made the same ruling. OK, that’s number one.”
As District Attorney of San Francisco, Harris signed an amicus curiae brief in Heller that argued the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms.
Advocating against the individual right to keep and bear arms, the brief argued,
courts have consistently sustained criminal firearms laws against Second Amendment challenges by holding that, inter alia, (i) the Second Amendment provides only a militia-related right to bear arms, (ii) the Second Amendment does not apply to legislation passed by state or local governments,
According to the document, the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right, but rather, the lower court in Heller “create[d]” this right. The brief stated,
The lower court’s decision, however, creates a broad private right to possess any firearm that is a “lineal descendant” of a founding era weapon and that is in “common use” with a “military application” today.
Anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court’s move in the next landmark Second Amendment case (McDonald), Harris’s brief reiterated that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms should not be incorporated to the states. Had this thinking been adopted, state and local governments would be empowered to curtail or even extinguish gun rights without restraint. State and local governments would have been able to bar their residents from owning any firearms whatsoever.
There is every reason to believe that any court packing scheme would involve installing a solid anti-Second Amendment majority to the U.S. Supreme Court that would work to eliminate recognition of the individual right to keep and bear arms. NRA members and gun rights activists must work to inform their family, friends, neighbors, and other freedom-minded individuals about the dangers a Biden-Harris administration poses to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Second Amendment.