Gun rights activists praised President Trump's new judicial nominees on Wednesday.
"As he did in nominating Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, once again President Trump is keeping his promise to the American people by nominating constitutional originalists across the federal courts," Chris Cox, head of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon.
The Trump administration announced on Monday that the president would nominate 10 judges to the federal bench. Two of those nominees, Justice Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court and Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court, were on the list of judges Trump considered for the Supreme Court. Amy Coney Barrett, John Bush, Kevin Newsom, David Nye, Scott Palk, Damien Schiff, Dabney Friedrich, and Terry Moorer are the other eight nominees.
The nominations come on the heels of Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court, which was also well-received by the gun-rights community. The announcement comes just two weeks after President Trump's speech at the National Rifle Association's Annual Meeting where he promised not to let the leading gun-rights group or gun owners down.
The Second Amendment Foundation, which has a number of gun-rights cases pending in the federal courts, said the nominations look "very promising." "We will fully vet each nominee," the group's founder Alan M. Gottlieb said. "At this point, it appears that Donald Trump is fulfilling his commitment to bring balance to the federal courts by nominating judges who adhere to the Constitution rather than try to reinvent it to fit their own political agendas."
At this point, there are over 120 federal court vacancies waiting to be filled. With federal judges serving life terms, President Trump has an opportunity to shape the federal court system in a significant fashion. The Second Amendment Foundation, which recently launched the Judicial Accountability Project, is hoping Trump will shape it in a way that protects and extends individual gun rights.
"Like it or not," Gottlieb said, "the courts have the final say whether you have gun rights or not. "We cannot risk the Second Amendment by being lethargic and disinterested in those individuals who will have the authority and responsibility to judge the merits of gun-rights cases brought to the courts."
Liberals and Democrats have reacted to the news of the nominations with a great deal of alarm. A leading liberal group told the New York Times the nominations were part of a plan to "pack the federal courts" with "ultraconservatives." "The Trump administration has made clear its intention to benefit from Republican obstructionism and to pack the federal courts with ultraconservatives given a stamp of approval by the Federalist Society," Nan Aron, the president of the Alliance for Justice, told the Times. "We’ll be scrutinizing the records of these nominees very carefully."
Gottlieb said the scorn from liberal groups only served to make him more confident in the president's nominees.
"The louder liberal anti-gunners complain about federal court nominees," he said, "the better the odds that these nominees will bring the proper perspective about the Bill of Rights to the bench."