NRA Opposition to Kagan Could Sway Moderate Democrats

Posted July 1, 2010 at 7:58pm

The National Rifle Association formally announced Thursday its opposition to the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and warned that it would use the confirmation vote in its annual ranking of lawmakers.

That decision could put pressure on a handful of moderate Democrats, most notably Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), to break with their party and vote against Kagan, particularly if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has more than enough votes to confirm her, as expected.

The NRA announced its opposition in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). The influential organization argued that Kagan’s “record on the Second Amendment gives us no confidence that if confirmed to the Court, she will faithfully defend the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding Americans.”

The letter came as Leahy and Sessions wrapped up the fourth and final day of hearings into Kagan’s nomination. Delayed because of the memorial services for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the committee conducted four hours of sparsely attended hearings with outside witnesses, including former colleagues of Kagan’s, members of the American Bar Association, and opponents of abortion and gay rights.