Putting Judge Alito's Dissent in Context

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

In his Nov. 26 letter, "In Defense of Judge Alito on Gun Control," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) misrepresented the facts in his attempt to defend Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s dangerous dissent in U.S. v. Rybar .

In that dissent, Judge Alito took the extreme -- and roundly rejected -- view that the federal ban on machine guns is an unconstitutional violation of congressional power under the commerce clause.

Mr. Cornyn said that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed with Judge Alito's dissent and that most of the courts that disagreed with Judge Alito did so before the Supreme Court struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act in 1995.

However, Mr. Cornyn did not mention that the Supreme Court vacated the only 9th Circuit case on which he relied and that the 9th Circuit has found the ban to be constitutional. Indeed, most federal circuit courts have considered the machine-gun ban's constitutionality since 1995, and they have uniformly disagreed with Judge Alito's judicial activism and upheld the ban.


Staff Attorney

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Legal Action Project


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