Thursday, August 13, 2009

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) responds to my Sotomayor letter

Here's Senator Lindsay Graham's response to this letter, asking him NOT to vote for the confirmation of Judge Sonya Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Dear Brian:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Second Amendment rights and Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you on these important issues.

I have announced my intent to support Judge Sotomayor, in both the Senate Judiciary Committee and on the floor of the Senate, because I believe she is well-qualified for the position. As you may be aware, Judge Sotomayor's nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 28, 2009, and awaits consideration by the full United States Senate.

I understand your concerns regarding Judge Sotomayor's record on Second Amendment rights. She was questioned extensively on this point during her confirmation hearings. Judge Sotomayor acknowledged and pledged to abide by the precedent established by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment confers an individual right of gun ownership. In making my decision to support Judge Sotomayor's nomination, I considered how she might rule on a variety of issues, including gun rights. I weighed her past rulings, education, and statements on judicial philosophy, both in and out of the courtroom, to determine whether she was qualified for the position of Associate Justice. I also considered her character and the uniquely American story that her life presents. Finally, I studied whether there was anything about her past actions which would be serious enough to disqualify her from sitting on the Supreme Court. Finding none, and believing her qualifications to be exemplary, I chose to support her nomination.

I believe my record of supporting legislation which protects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is clear. I joined 54 other senators, 250 representatives, and former Vice President Cheney in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court to argue that the long-standing District of Columbia (D.C.) handgun ban is unconstitutional. Additionally, I cosponsored an amendment to S. 160, the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act, which would conform D.C. gun laws to the requirements set out in the Heller decision. I have also cosponsored legislation, S. 371, which allows concealed carry reciprocity. Finally I was proud to cosponsor an amendment which restores the right of law- abiding citizens to possess, carry, and transport concealed weapons within a national park area or national wildlife refuge area. This legislation was signed into law by President Obama on May 22, 2009. I assure you I will continue to look for ways to protect the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. If I may be of further assistance to you or your family,please do not hesitate to call on me.

Lindsey O. Graham
United States Senator

At the end there he mentions his support of the Thune-Vitter amendment (although oddly not by name) like I'd not heard of it - even though I mention it by name in my letter, clearly marking this as his form letter for "gun people". Sigh.

I'll give Lindsay and staff credit for not ignoring me completely and at least having some pro-2nd Amendment credibility. He really dropped the ball on this vote though.

For the record - I prefer the nigh-on instant response from Senator DeMint, via email. As a comparison, it is safe to say that Graham bought it and DeMint did not, safely neutering any influence the Republican Senators from South Carolina might have on the proceedings. This is not the first time this has happened and likely won't be the last.

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