Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut mischaracterized Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s dissent in a gun rights case and misattributed her use of the word “radical” regarding the opinion.
“Your opinion in Kanter goes farther than Justice Scalia in Heller,” Blumenthal said. “You characterized it as kind of radical. It is, in effect, an outlier and it is, in fact, radical.”
“Did I say it was radical in the opinion?” Barrett questioned.
Despite Barrett’s pushback, Blumnethal insisted the quote could be attributed to her written dissent in the Kanter v. Barr case, in which Barrett argues the law does not require stripping non-violent felons of their gun rights.
“I think you said ‘It sounds kind of radical to say felons can have firearms.’ That’s a direct quote,” Blumenthal claimed.
“I did not remember that particular language,” she replied. “I just don’t recall it.”
Barrett, who used no notes during her second day of prolonged Senate confirmation hearings, was correct in questioning the origin of the quote.
The “direct quote” Blumenthal attributed Barrett’s written dissent in the case is not found anywhere in the Kanter v. Barr case documents. Barrett said that line during a speaking event at Hillsdale College in Michigan a few months after the Kanter ruling, where she affirmed the decision she laid out in her dissent.
“That sounds kind of radical, to say felons can have firearms, but I think it’s because what the long-standing prohibitions were, and in fact had been even under federal law until more recently, that violent felons couldn’t have firearms,” Barrett said in Michigan. “What the history showed me is there’s been a long-standing practice of saying that those who pose a threat of violence to the community cannot have firearms. And that makes sense, right? History is consistent with common sense.”
The Washington Post also misconstrued Barrett’s dissent in an article on Saturday,claiming that “Barrett’s Kanter dissent shows boldness and a propensity for casting off established readings of the law.”
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett acknowledges that the decision she considers most significant in her relatively short time as a judge ‘sounds kind of radical”: She doesn’t believe the Constitution gives government the authority to ban all felons from owning guns,”
The article also quotes Blumenthal, three days before he brought up the case in question to Barrett in her confirmation hearings.
“She is extreme on this issue,” Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told the Post. “She would go much farther than her mentor Scalia did in striking down common-sense measures.”