President Donald Trump just appointed his 200th federal judge. That’s a ton in just a few years in office, creating a legacy that will last well beyond his tenure as president. In fact, even if he only ends up serving one term, the reality is that there are plenty of conservative judges out there now that can keep a progressive government in check.
At least in theory.
However, it seems some view this milestone as a huge win for gun rights advocates.
The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is celebrating a milestone hit by President Donald Trump last week — confirmation of his 200th judicial nominee in the U.S. Senate, bending the judiciary politically to the right for years to come with lifetime federal appointments, many to younger judges.
“Judicial confirmations may be President Trump’s most important legacy,” said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “They will shape the nation’s laws on abortion, LGBT rights, voting rights and many other issues long after Trump leaves office.”
As an NRA celebratory email points out, another issue potentially in these judges’ hands will be promoting gun rights over even such minimal, popular gun-control measures as mandatory background checks.“Trump has now filled all federal circuit court vacancies, and appointed more appellate judges than any other president at this point in his presidency. He is closing in on making as many circuit court appointments as President Obama made throughout his two terms in the White House,” stated the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action newsletter sent this week.
But the real question is, is it really that big of a win for the Second Amendment?
After all, the Supreme Court–which boasts two of those judicial appointments–has refused to hear a single Second Amendment case. That’s a big problem, though I’ve argued before it might be a good thing. I stand by that, but that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow.
Further, many anti-gun areas have judges in power in key positions that keep onerous gun control legislation on the books despite precedent like Heller, which means the only way to overturn some of these laws is with a Supreme Court decision.
A decision that’s not likely to come.
Sure, there will probably be a number of cases that go against gun control activists as well, but the question becomes just where does the balance fall? Will they log fewer “wins” than we do? Will their losses mean more freedom for our brothers and sisters in parts of the country many of us are starting to think of as occupied territory?
Of course, these answers aren’t something we can foresee. It really depends on what cases show up in which court. Without knowing that, we can’t really speculate with any degree of accuracy.
What I do know, though, is that while Trump’s judicial appointments are important, I’m just not sure we can claim them as an unmitigated victory for gun rights. Not yet.
Let’s see some gun control regulations get repealed and then we can talk. Until then, I’ll just wait cautiously and see if this works out the way many believe it will.