The Roberts Court, November 30, 2018. Seated, from left to right: Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel A. Alito. Standing, from left to right: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Supreme Court Curator’s Office.
Washington, D.C. – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Supreme Court has been in the news a lot lately on issues of interest to Second Amendment supporters, both between the uncertain health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact the high court is taking up a Second Amendment case. There have been reported sightings of Justice Ginsburg since her cancer surgery, but that hasn’t tamped down the notion of a potential court fight.
If she does vacate her seat on the Supreme Court, who should replace her?
The replacement will come from Donald Trump’s list of Supreme Court candidates – and there have been a few who could be finalists.
One is Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit. She has a very impressive professional resume, including a clerkship under the late Antonin Scalia (who wrote the Heller opinion). She gained some notoriety when she faced religious attacks from Dianne Feinstein and Richard Durbin. If nominated and confirmed, she would be the first justice in quite a while to not come from an Ivy league law school.
Another is Amul Thapar, who was confirmed to the Sixth Circuit in 2017. Thapar would be the first American of Indian descent to serve on the high court and was among those interviewed as a potential replacement for Anthony Kennedy. He also would break up the recent Ivy League monopoly, having gone to law school at UC Berkeley.
A third option is Thomas Hardiman of the Third Circuit. Hardiman is notable for being the runner-up to Neil Gorsuch for the Scalia seat. Like Thapar and Barrett, he’d break up the Ivy League monopoly. He also has the experience of working as a taxi driver while going to law school. Hardiman may have the strongest paper trail on the Second Amendment. While he upheld the prohibition on felons owning firearms, he issued a blistering dissent in Drake v. Filko, stating that the requirement to demonstrate a “justifiable need” to get a concealed carry permit was unconstitutional.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) could be a pick out of right field. Lee has a very strong pro-Second Amendment voting record in his eight years in the United States Senate, and his father, Rex Lee, was once Solicitor General of the United States. His brother Thomas (another potential Trump pick) serves on the Utah Supreme Court. Lee’s legal resume includes clerking for Sam Alito when Alito was on the Third Circuit, and later spent a year clerking for Alito on the Supreme Court. Lee’s departure would create a Senate vacancy, but Utah reliably sends pro-Second Amendment Senators to D.C.
The thing is, Ginsburg is not the only justice whose seat could be vacated. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer is 80, and thus could also retire, especially if Ginsburg departs. Clarence Thomas, the court’s strongest voice on the Second Amendment, is also said to be considering retirement, as he will turn 71 this summer.
It is very likely we could see multiple appointments.
These four, while only scratching the surface of the list, deserve to be near the top of it. Second Amendment supporters should contact the President, urging him to nominate a strong voice in support of our freedoms for the next vacancy or vacancies that emerge.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.