On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. During the hearing, Senator Diane Feinstein from California pressed Gorsuch on a 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which ruled with a 5-4 vote that a Washington D.C. law that required guns be stored locked up and unloaded was in violation of the Second Amendment. Gorsuch responded that Heller is the “law of the land,” and he will enforce that law.
“Whatever’s in Heller, that’s the law,” Gorsuch said. “It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, respectfully, its about the law. My job is to apply and enforce the law.”
District of Columbia vs. Heller states:
District of Columbia law bans handgun possession by making it a crime to carry an unregistered firearm and prohibiting the registration of handguns; provides separately that no person may carry an unlicensed handgun, but authorizes the police chief to issue 1-year licenses; and requires residents to keep lawfully owned firearms unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device.
District of Columbia vs. Heller also says that “holding that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms and that the city’s total ban on handguns, as well as its requirement that firearms in the home be kept nonfunctional even when necessary for self-defense, violated that right.”
Gorsuch praised both the late Justice Antonin Scalia who wrote the majority opinion in the ruling, as well as the dissenting opinion written by now retired Justice John Paul Stevens, in an effort to not choose sides. Gorsuch wouldn’t offer specifics on District of Columbia vs. Heller, or any other ruling arguing that if he shared his opinion it was suggest he has made up his mind on how he would rule in the future.
“If I were so start telling you which are my favorite precedents … I would be tipping my hand and suggesting to litigants that I have already made up my mind about their cases,” Gorsuch said.