WASHINGTON — Gun-rights advocates are using Judge Sonia Sotomayor's involvement in two Second Amendment cases as ammunition to challenge her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, threatening to draw the Obama administration into a debate over firearms laws that it has tried hard to avoid.
The clash between gun-control laws and the breadth of the constitutional right to bear arms is one of several social issues being scoured by people on both sides of the ideological spectrum for clues to Judge Sotomayor's leanings. Her record on the bench provides few hints of her views on such hot-button issues as abortion or gay marriage.
The gun owners' opposition stems from two rulings in which Judge Sotomayor took part while on the federal appellate bench. The January 2009 Maloney v. Cuomo decision involved a challenge from a New York resident arrested for possessing nunchakus, a martial arts weapon made of two thick sticks joined at the ends by a short length of chain or cord. The defendant said the state's ban on nunchakus violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
A three-judge panel including Judge Sotomayor rejected the claim in an unsigned opinion. The court cited earlier rulings, including an 1886 Supreme Court decision, in holding that “the Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose on this right,” not to state legislative efforts. Read more
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Source: Wall Street Journal