Sotomayor was labeled “anti-gun” by Gun Owners of America for refusing to extend to the states the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision overturning a Washington, D.C., handgun ban. The group said a January ruling by a three-judge panel that included Sotomayor displayed “pure judicial arrogance” for declining to throw out a New York state weapons law.
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Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook, appointed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago by President Ronald Reagan, signaled at a May 26 hearing in a separate weapons case that they side with Sotomayor’s hands-off approach.
“It’s nice to have two leading conservative judges” for support, said Washington lawyer Patricia Millett, a Supreme Court specialist. It “will really take the steam” out of accusations Sotomayor, 54, is hostile to gun rights, she said.
Posner and Easterbrook are leaders of the so-called law and economics school of thought that espouses free-market principles to help resolve legal questions.
They said in court arguments last month in a gun rights case that it is up to the Supreme Court — not appellate judges — to extend the Constitution’s Second Amendment protection for gun owners to the states. Posner and Easterbrook are members of a three-judge panel that is deciding whether to invalidate gun- control ordinances in Chicago and suburban Oak Park, Illinois. Read more