Watch: Biden Judicial Nominee Who Wanted To Ban ‘Assault Weapons’ Can’t Define What They Are

March 21, 2024   |   Tags:
Watch: Biden Judicial Nominee Who Wanted To Ban 'Assault Weapons' Can’t Define What They Are

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A Biden-nominated candidate for a judicial seat couldn’t define the term “assault weapon” during a confirmation hearing on March 20, even though she once signed a brief defending a ban on “assault weapons.”

Semi-automatic rifles hang on the wall for sale at Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Virginia, on October 6, 2017. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked U.S. District Judge Nancy Maldonado of the Northern District of Illinois to define “assault weapons” during Wednesday’s nomination hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

In posing the question, Mr. Kennedy cited a legal brief that Judge Maldonado signed years ago.

“You said, ‘assault weapons may be banned because they’re extraordinarily dangerous and are not appropriate for legitimate self-defense purposes,’” Mr. Kennedy said. “Tell me what you meant by assault weapons.”

Judge Maldonado, who has been nominated by President Joe Biden for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, struggled to reply to the question.

“I did not write the brief,” she said, prompting the Republican senator to point out that she signed the brief and asked her whether in so doing she was “testifying to the court that everything in it is true.”

“Yes,” she replied.

So they’re your words in terms of the court, right?” he asked.

You’re correct, Senator Kennedy,” prompting him to ask again what she meant by “assault weapons.”

I am not a gun expert,” Judge Maldonado then said, with Mr. Kennedy pressing the issue, asking her to “just tell me what you wanted to ban.”

“I don’t remember the exact definition of ‘assault weapons’ in the ordinance that was at issue,” she said, before adding that she signed off on the brief but “was not responsible for researching the content.”

‘Assault Weapons’ In Focus

In the exchange with Mr. Kennedy, Judge Maldonado acknowledged that she was “responsible” for the brief but insisted that she doesn’t remember its specific “characteristics” as they related to the ordinance on “assault weapons.”

Asked pointedly whether she thinks deserves to be promoted to the appeals court seat, she said, “Senator, I stand by my record.”

The label “assault weapons,” which has been variously defined in legislation, is a fuzzy term commonly used by gun control advocates to refer to many types of popular semi-automatic sporting rifles, in particular AR-15-style rifles.

Gun rights advocates have argued that the term “assault weapons” is ill-defined and of limited practical use in legislation, but is a dangerous-sounding term used to instill fear to build public support for gun restrictions on many modern sporting rifles (MSR).

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) estimated in 2022 that there were over 24 million MSRs in circulation in the United States, which include AR-15 and AK-style rifles.

The popularity of MSRs has been attributed to factors like accuracy, reliability, and recoil control.

“The firearm industry responds to market demand and this shows that during the elevated period of firearm sales that began in 2020, this particular style of rifle is the top choice for law-abiding citizens for hunting, recreational shooting and self-defense,” NSSF president and CEO Joe Bartozzi said in a statement at the time.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly used the term “assault weapon” in pushing gun curbs.

“I’m still committed to banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” he told a group of mayors at the White House in January.

“When we passed the Second Amendment, guess what: You weren’t allowed to have a cannon,” the president told the mayors, while urging them to get onboard his gun control proposals.

“You’ve heard ‘the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots’? Guess what, man. I didn’t see a whole lot of patriots out there walking around making sure that we have these weapons,“ he continued.

“If you really want to worry about the government, you need an F-16,” President Biden said. “You don’t need an AR-15.”

A Rand Corp. study completed in 2020 and updated in 2023 found limited evidence that “high capacity magazine” bans reduced mass shootings and inconclusive evidence on the effect of banning “assault weapons” on the incidents of mass shootings.

Judicial Nominations

Meanwhile, Judge Maldonado was on Wednesday grilled by Senate Republicans on issues other than “assault weapons,” including on how she amassed one of the largest case backlogs of any federal trial court judge nationally.

She replied by saying that when she joined the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in August 2022, she was immediately assigned around 300 cases with pending motions. Then, after three judges retired, her caseload swelled to 360, she said.

Judge Maldonado said she worked hard to get the caseload number down but the speed of clearing the backlog was constrained by what she said was her desire to make sure the decisions were “well-reasoned.”

Before joining the district court, Judge Maldonado was a partner at the law firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland, where she focused on employment litigation.

The other judges nominated by President Biden—who has said his nominees would ensure U.S. courts reflect “diversity”—that were also part of Wednesday’s hearing were: Georgia N. Alexakis, Krissa Lanham, Angela Martinez, and Sparkle Sooknanan.

Michael Clements contributed to this report.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/21/2024 - 20:00


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