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NRA: ‘Concerned’ and ‘Dismayed’ With Sotomayor

The National Rifle Association today informed Senate lawmakers that the group has “very serious concerns” with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s ruling history on gun-owner rights. In a letter (pdf) to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chris Cox, the NRA’s top lobbyist, said that the cases adjudicated by Sotomayor “have been dismissive of the Second Amendment and have troubling implications for future cases that are certain to come before the Court.”

Therefore, we believe that America’s eighty million gun owners have good reason to worry about her views. We look forward to a full airing of her past decisions and judicial philosophy at the upcoming committee hearings, and urge you and all committee members to engage in the most serious questioning possible on these critical issues.

Cox here comes just short of announcing the NRA’s outright opposition to Sotomayor, but warns that such opposition will follow “should her answers regarding the Second Amendment at the upcoming hearings be hostile or evasive.”

That opposition, if it arrived, would likely present some tough choices for lawmakers not accustomed to crossing the gun lobby, which is among the most influential forces in Washington. Indeed, Congress these days is packed full of moderate Democrats who already this year have backed the NRA on everything it’s wanted, including legislation allowing loaded weapons in national parks.

What this means for Sotomayor has yet to be seen, but it potentially represents the highest hurdle yet to what has thus far been viewed an inevitable nomination.

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