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Gorsuch: DC v. Heller ‘Is the Law, and I Follow the Law’

During his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch stated that the Supreme Court’s ruling in DC v. Heller “is the law, and I follow the law.”

Gorsuch was asked by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) whether he agreed with Heller‘s majority opinion, written by Justice Scalia, or its dissenting opinion, written by Justice Stevens. He answered, “Both Justice Scalia and Justice Stevens wrote excellent opinions in that case. I am not here, though, to grade my boss’ work, that would be kind of impertinent of me, I suspect, and I’m certainly — I’m sure they would think so. I also worry that saying I agree with one or the other will indicate to clients, or to litigants in future cases, because it’s now a precedent of the United States supreme Court. It’s binding. It’s the law, whether we like it or not, it’s the law. And if I start saying I like one opinion or I like the other opinion, I’m signaling –.”

Feinstein then cut in to ask Gorsuch whether he agrees with about Scalia’s writing in Heller that “weapons that are most useful in military service…may be banned.” Gorsuch responded that “Heller makes clear the standard that we judges are supposed to apply. The question is whether it’s a gun in common use, for self-defense, and that may be subject to reasonable regulation. That’s the test, as I understand it. There’s lots of ongoing litigation about which weapons qualify under those standards, and I can’t prejudge that litigation.”

After Feinstein pressed further on whether Gorsuch agrees with Scalia’s statement, Gorsuch said that “Whatever’s in Heller is the law, and I follow the law.” And “it’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, Senator, respectfully, it’s a matter of it being the law, and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

 

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