Up | March 09, 2013
>>> there were two filibusters this week. two, two, not just one. on once night there was the much talked about rand paul 13-hour headline grabbing spectacle. but a few hours from rand took the floor, senators very quietly blocked caitlin . senator paul wept on and john brennan was confirmed but hala halagan fell short just like conservatives did in 2011 . the white house released this statement, nearly two and a half years after being nominated, ms. halligan continues to wait for a simple up or down vote. in the past, filibusters of judicial nominations required extraordinary circumstances and a republican senator who was part of this agreement articulated that only ethics issue would qualify. halligan is a graduate of princeton, georgetown law , former solicitor of new york state with the highest accommodation for the standing committee , federal judiciary committee. the only thing extraordinary about her seemed to be her credentials. she signed --
>> miss halligan 's record of advocacy led me to to believe she would bring activism on to the court. because of giving the lifetime appointment to the d.c. circuit is a bridge too far.
>> it doesn't matter during her 2011 confirmation hearing halligan instead offed the second amendment protects an individual's right to bear arms.
>> in 2003 , you gave a speech expressing concern about federal legislation to limit the liability of gun manufacturers. you said, quote, such an action would likely cut off at the pass any attempt by states to find solutions through the legal system or their own legislatures that might reduce gun crime . end of quote. many who oppose the second amendment rights made similar arguments after the supreme court incited haller. do you personally agree that the second amendment protects individual rights to protect and bear arms.
>> the supreme court has been strong on that, yes, it does.
>> d.c. court of appeals considered the most influential court of the land over the supreme court . today, there are four empty seats on the 11-member court, so far, president obama is unable to appoint anyone to fill them. the seat that caitlin halligan is the seat since 2005 .
>> dan baum, author of the new book "gun guys." great to have you both here. let's segue from this point that we just made. from the intensity issue. gun owners and gun rights advocates have a lot of intensity in those feelings.
>> indeed they do. they talk about their guns all day, every day. you made a good point, you call somebody up and you ask them about gun control , they'll say yes, five minutes later, they forgot all about it.
>> i'll tell you, gun owners around the country, they are thinking about their ak-15 rifles all day every day.
>> and conducted a lot of interviews in this world.
>> and this intensity is enduring, right? i guess the question is how much of this is a real visceral felt thing in the life of an individual? and how much is it the fabricated passion created by the organization of the national rifle association ?
>> i think the second assumption is the assumption that people in your world make all the time, and they get it wrong. this is visceral. this is deep. this was a big surprise for me. i'm a liberal democrat but i'm also a gun guy so i straddle the fence. i'm going around the country and talking about why do we like these things so much. there's two big surprises for me. i have no idea gun guys get from just being able to manage these very dangerous things. nobody gets hurt. they use them effectively. so when people like dianne feinstein come along and say, i don't trust you with this gun. they're like, what do you mean? you don't know anything about guns, and you don't know anything about me. so it really hits them where it hurts. and now -- you're smirking. and now they all feel like little bit players in american history . because our ability to own guns in this country, to the gun guys, represents this incredible trust that our system puts in ordinary americans.
>> and so --
>> and it means something.
>> and so this intensity shows up in all sorts of legislative areas around guns, right? we've seen this. but here it's shown up, you have experienced this preference intensity divide yourself as a state senator.
>> i have. i have. you know, there are a few issues where you just had such an intense lobby. one was midwives. another was home schoolers freedom of the road riders who refused to wear motorcycle helmets. gun owners had a same type of intensity, even if they only comprised 10%, 15% of the country, you would hear from every one of them.
>> i also think that the left buildings up the nra needlessly. it's not about the nra , these folks are there anyway. the nra has 4 million members. it doesn't give as much money as the pipe fitters union. it's not about the money.
>> it's about genuine passion.
>> it's about genuine passion.
>> both things are true though, right? there's genuine passion for all the reasons that you say. when we talk about gun control , there are all different forms of gun control , right? what does it mean that 70% of nra would support background checks and yet the nra is taking a position against them?
>> or caitlin halligan . here's a perfect example, no one knows who she is. dan does because this is what you do for a living. she signed on this brief. i should say what the brief was. basically, a bunch of states got together and tried pursue the litigation strategy of the states that support tobacco. you've created this problem that has created a huge threat in public safety . and they basically supplied a legal reasoning. i'm right about this, right?
>> you're looking at this like i'm getting it completely wrong. doing this from memory. so they tried this somewhat novel, but not off-the-charts novel theory that she was the attorney general of the state of the new york . she signed off on that.
>> it wasn't even her argument. she was representing a client.
>> representing a client, the state of the new york .
>> exactly. and it's true that republicans are trying to make guns the next litmus test . and that anything that any candidate has ever done on the issue of guns, a brief, spoken, testified, that is the new litmus test . we've gone from choice, civil rights , school prayer to now guns. but i don't believe that's the reason.
>> to choose.
>> i want to stop you right there. there's a whole lot of other judicial nominees who have similar fates who never signed on guns. i want to talk about the broader context of nominees right