Barack Obama’s appointments to the federal judiciary — there are 324 of them — have created majorities of Democrat-appointed judges in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, D.C. and Federal circuit courts. Nine of 13 circuit courts are now numerically dominated by Democrat appointees. That’s an alarming fact because judges appointed by Democrats are more likely than judges appointed by Republicans to base their votes on ideology rather than common sense and objective interpretation of law. That tendency is apparent from results on several cases about a contentious issue: concealed carry of firearms.
Before summarizing those results, a few words about concealed carry are in order. Government officials in 42 states — local judges, police chiefs, or sheriffs, depending on jurisdiction — issue permits or licenses for concealed carry to any applicants who meet various objective criteria (e.g., no criminal record). Those are “shall issue” states. In eight “may issue” states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, California and Hawaii), issuance of such permits or licenses is discretionary, dependent on applicants showing “proper cause” or “good cause” or “justifiable need” or “good or substantial reason” for issuance. It’s not surprising that such ambiguity has created a lot of litigation from individuals who have had applications for permits or licenses denied.
With respect to the tendency of Democrat-appointed judges to vote in ways that support agendas of presidents who appointed them, four cases about concealed carry are enlightening: Kachalsky v. County of Westchester in the 2nd Circuit Court, John Drake v. Rudolph Filko in the 3rd Circuit Court, Raymond Woolard v. Denis Gallagher in the 4th Circuit Court and Edward Peruta v. City/County of San Diego in the 9th Circuit Court. All of the cases involved initial rulings by district court judges and subsequent rulings by panels of circuit court judges — three-judge panels but also an additional “en banc” panel of 11 judges for the 9th Circuit case. All of the cases ended with rulings against the applicants for concealed carry permits or licenses. The cases involved 26 judges, 16 appointed by Democrats and 10 appointed by Republicans. Of the 16 Democrat-appointed judges, 15 supported discretionary denials of applications for concealed carry licenses or permits in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and California, where applicants supposedly had failed to show “proper cause” or “good cause” or “justifiable need” or “good or substantial reason” for issuance. Of the 10 Republican-appointed judges, four supported those denials. Of seven judges who supported applicants, finding the requirements of “may issue” states infringed on the Second Amendment right “to bear arms” and were therefore unconstitutional, one was Democrat-appointed and six were Republican-appointed.
All but one of the Democrat-appointed judges involved with those cases, representing district courts in four states and four circuit courts with jurisdiction in 20 states, were unsympathetic to law-abiding Americans who want permits or licenses to lawfully carry concealed firearms for self-defense. Although no supporting facts are presented here, the tendency of Democrat-appointed judges to vote ideologically on other matters (i.e., voter ID laws) is also conspicuous. The most sensible course of action for Americans who believe that an unbiased objective federal judiciary is essential for the country’s well-being is to spurn Democrat candidates for president.
Phil Edmunds lives in Boalsburg.