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NRA's Plans to Take the Courts Hostage

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INFLUENCE GAME: NRA lobbying targets courthouses

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association has enjoyed high-profile success over the years in shaping gun-rights legislation in Congress and statehouses, in part by campaigning to defeat lawmakers who defied the group.

Now, the NRA has added a lesser-known strategy to protect its interests: opposing President Barack Obama's judicial nominees whom it sees as likely to enforce gun-control laws. In some cases, the group's opposition has kept jobs on federal benches unfilled.

Still in its early stages, the effort is a safety net to ensure that federal courthouses are stocked with judges who are friendly to gun rights, should gun restrictions somehow get through the group's first line of defense on Capitol Hill. The NRA also weighs in on state judicial elections and appointments, another fail-safe if the massacre of young children at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school leads to tighter gun-control measures.

A case study in the group's approach across the country can be found in its opposition to the nominations of the two most recent Supreme Court justices.

The NRA opposed both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and warned its allies in Congress that their votes to confirm each would be held against them.

In a letter to lawmakers, the NRA wrote: "In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, (Kagan) refused to declare support for the Second Amendment, saying only that the matter was `settled law.' This was eerily similar to the scripted testimony of Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year, prior to her confirmation to the court. It has become obvious that `settled law' is the scripted code of an anti-gun nominee's confirmation effort."

It added, "The NRA is not fooled."

http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20130109/US.NRA.Strategy/

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