When someone is nominated to the Supreme Court, everyone’s probably going to disagree with how they ruled on something. After all, to make it to the highest court in the land, you’ve got to have done something first. As a result, anyone who makes it there will make some rulings that may not be particularly popular.
However, it’s primarily in this day and age that we see the media take those things they disagree with and distort them beyond all recognition to smear the nominee.
And, of course, Barrett is getting plenty of that. Unsurprisingly, Salon is taking part.
upreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett argued in a dissent last year that felons should be allowed to own guns, a position Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee long opposed before defending President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the bench.
Barrett, who was appointed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by Trump, broke with two fellow Republican-appointed judges with more than 70 years of experience and Attorney General Bill Barr’s Department of Justice to defend gun rights for felon, according to The Washington Post.
The case, Kanter v. Barr, was brought by Rickey Kanter, a Wisconsin businessman who pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Kanter sued the Justice Department and the state of Wisconsin after completing his sentence, because federal and state laws prohibit felons from purchasing firearms.
A district court rejected Kanter’s claims in January 2018, and a three-judge Seventh Circuit panel upheld the ruling 2-1. Barrett cast the lone dissenting opinion.
“She is extreme on this issue,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the committee, told The Post. “She would go much farther than her mentor Scalia did in striking down common sense measures.”
Except, Barrett didn’t argue that felons should be allowed to buy guns. She ruled that non-violent felons shouldn’t be disarmed as a matter of law since they represent no threat to the public.
Nothing in her dissent said violent felons should be permitted to purchase firearms, which is an important distinction. Kanter was convicted of mail fraud, a crime that almost never is associated with violence. As a result, there’s no public need to keep these people disarmed, and public need is the justification given for all sorts of infringements on the Second Amendment.
Look, it’s been estimated that each American may commit as many as three felonies per day. I’m not sure that the number is quite that high for some of us, but many statutes are written overly broad, and any number of people can run afoul of the law without realizing it. Since ignorance of the law is no defense, it’s not hard for someone else to find themselves jammed up over a misunderstanding.
Should they also lose their Second Amendment rights?
Let’s be honest here; we say that when someone gets out of prison, they’ve paid their debt to society, but they haven’t. For a felony conviction, especially a non-violent felony, we continue treating them like a hardened criminal that can’t be trusted to be a part of society for the rest of their life.
And Barrett called out one aspect of that, noting that non-violent felons aren’t the problem.
Frankly, her position isn’t that extreme if you think about it. There’s been a move over recent years to address how we treat felons, noting that they are often unable to get jobs or do anything else that doesn’t lead them down the path to recidivism. Barrett’s dissent is really along a similar vein if you think about it.
Yet nothing will change the blatant way Salon is trying to mischaracterize that dissent to be something it most definitely isn’t.