Second Amendment Tea Leaves for Corrigan, Sykes, Luttig and Alito:

In Re Four Possible Supreme Court Nominees. In the case of Love v. Pepersack, Judge Luttig concurred in an opinion rejecting a section 1983 claim for an erroneous denial of a handgun license by the state of Maryland. Judge Luttig's concurrence stated, in its entirity: "I concur only in the judgment reached by the majority, and I do so only because Gardner v. Baltimore Mayor and City Council, 969 F.2d 63 (4th Cir. 1992), is the law of the circuit." The Gardner case involved a narrow interpretation of substantive due process.

In United States v. Rybar, Judge Alito wrote a blistering dissent from the majority opinion which held that, notwithstanding United States v. Lopez, Congress had the power to use the Interstate Commerce power to prohibit the mere possession of machine guns manufactured after May 1986, even though Congress had made no findings about the effect of such machine guns on interstate commerce. Judge Alito's dissent did not address the majority's assertion that Rybar had no Second Amendment rights because Rybar was not a member of the militia.

Neither case clearly shows Judges Luttig or Alito to support or oppose the Standard Model of the Second Amendment. However, I believe that both opinions suggest that judges Luttig and Alito are, at the least, not hostile to the Second Amendment. Moreover, a generous reading of the Fourteenth Amendment, and a willingness to take Lopez seriously are in themselves good signs for persons who support judicial enforcement of the right to keep and bear arms.

UPDATE: I haven't found anything yet on Karen Williams.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan has three notable gun cases, but none sheds direct light on her RKBA views. In a 2004 case, she wrote the majority opinion in a 5-2 decision creating a "good faith" exception to Michigan's exclusionary rule. The case involved a home search that discovered a firearm and marijuana. A robust Fourth Amendment is an important secondary protection for Second Amendment rights, and the Fourth Amendment has been devastated by "good faith" loophole for the exclusionary rule, as I detail in an Akron Law Review article.

Also in 2004, Justice Corrigan joined a majority opinion reversing the conviction of a longtime Michigan gun rights activist who had sold a firearm to undercover police officers in a sting operation. Justice Corrigan agreed that because the defendant had complied with Michigan's laws regarding handgun sales, his actions were not illegal. The decision bodes well for her attitude towards some of the law enforcement abuses and aggressive interpretation of gun control statutes which have too often characterized the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In 2001, Justice Corrigan was part of 4-3 majority which applied a "strict textualist" interpretation to the Michigan Constitution, thereby negating an attempting to prevent Michigan's Shall Issue concealed handgun licensing law from going into effect. The Michigan Constitution allows petitioners to stop a new statute from going into effect by gathering sufficient petitions to put the statute to a popular vote in a general election. However, the Constitution forbids delaying the implementation of a new statute which has an appropriation therein, and the Michigan licensing law included a one million dollar appropriation for county licensing boards. As Justice Corrigan pointed out, anti-gun advocates still could have petitioned for an initiative to overturn the licensing statute; they were simply barred from preventing the statute from going into effect in the period before the next election.

MORE UPDATE: Diane Sykes (7th Cir., formerly Wisc. Sup. Ct.) voted with a unanimous majority in the Cole case (holding that new Wisconsin constitutional RKBA did not confer a right to carry a concealed gun in an automobile), and with the majority in Hamdan (holding that there was a constituitonal right to carry concealed on one's business premises). (Both cases are discussed in my Albany Law Review article on state constitutional decisions on concealed carry.) According to one report of the oral argument, her questions showed her to be a gun owner, and to be supportive of the RKBA.