U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn objects to cabinet pick

BY CHRIS CASTEEL Modified: January 23, 2009 at 4:15 am •  Published: January 23, 2009
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WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn said Thursday that he is likely to oppose President Barack Obama’s choice for attorney general because of his stand on Second Amendment rights.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, said Eric Holder didn’t believe the Second Amendment granted the right to individuals to own guns. Holder signed a brief in the case decided by the Supreme Court last summer arguing that the right under the Second Amendment was a collective one, meant for state militias.

Committee to vote
Coburn sits on the Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to vote next week on Holder’s nomination. Senate leaders had hoped to clear Holder this week, but Republicans delayed the committee vote.

Coburn questioned Holder about gun rights at a hearing last week. Holder told Coburn that, after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to own guns, options for restrictions had "narrowed.”

Coburn said he was concerned that Holder didn’t respond definitively to the question of whether he would defend state laws allowing people to carry concealed weapons.


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AT A GLANCE
Cabinet members

Senate confirmed

→Environmental Protection Agency: Lisa Jackson

→Council of Environmental Quality: Nancy Sutley

→United Nations ambassador: Susan Rice

Pending

→Attorney general: Eric Holder

→Deputy defense secretary: William J. Lynn III

→Labor secretary: Hilda Solis

→Treasury secretary: Timothy Geithner

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