July 12, 2010

NRA Ramps Up Kagan Opposition

Statement of CFJ Executive Director Curt Levey:

Politico reports today that the National Rifle Association “is facing mounting criticism from influential allies on the right and even from its own board over a series of recent moves,” including “taking a cautious approach to … President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees,” most recently Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. In addition to consistently taking alarming positions on gun rights, Kagan has compared the NRA to the Klu Klux Klan. The NRA is apparently taking the criticism about nominees to heart, as witnessed by its debut Friday of a Kagan ad that “will be airing across the country.”

The ad uses video of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor testifying before the Judiciary Committee to remind viewers that both women recited the same carefully worded recognition of Second Amendment rights while testifying before the Judiciary Committee. Yet in the Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment decision last month in McDonald v. Chicago, “Sotomayor ruled exactly the opposite.” She “would have erased the Second Amendment from the Constitution,” the ad says.

Most importantly, the NRA ad concludes by urging Americans to “Call your senator. Tell them not to fall for the same trick twice.” In an e-mail announcing the ad, the NRA specifies that citizens should ask senators “to oppose and filibuster Kagan's confirmation” and explains that
“Both [Kagan’s] political career in the Clinton Administration and her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee make it clear that Kagan would be a serious opponent of our Second Amendment Rights.”
As we did last summer with the Sotomayor nomination, CFJ has respectfully urged the NRA to take a strong stand against the confirmation of Elena Kagan. We are encouraged that the NRA has followed up on its July 1 letter – opposing Kagan and announcing it will include votes on her confirmation in its candidate evaluations – with the debut of this ad.

Going forward, we urge the NRA to focus its efforts on senators whose votes on Kagan are in play – for example, by airing TV and radio ads in their states, lobbying them hard in Washington, and withholding endorsement in the coming election from any senator who votes to confirm Kagan. See here for our discussion of reports that the NRA is considering endorsing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Note that Kagan is already an issue in several Senate races where Democratic incumbents are in trouble, including even Russ Feingold’s reelection battle in the Democrat-leaning but pro-Second Amendment state of Wisconsin.