‘Incredibly Ironic’: Sotomayor Slammed for Gun Rights Views as Bodyguards Shoot Alleged Carjacker

By: Georgia | Published: Jul 11, 2024

In the early hours of a July morning, a high-stress incident unfolded involving the security detail of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

At 1:17 a.m. ET, two U.S. Marshals, stationed in an unmarked vehicle, faced a direct threat when a man from a nearby silver minivan aimed a gun at them through the window.

Quick Response Thwarts Armed Threat

The encounter took a dangerous turn as the armed man, later identified as 18-year-old Kentrell Flowers, threatened the officers. 

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A silver minivan parked on the street, showing significant damage to the windshield and side windows

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Reacting under pressure, one Marshal drew his weapon and fired four times, striking Flowers, including once in the mouth, as detailed in the criminal complaint.

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From Confrontation to Care

Immediately after neutralizing the threat, the same Marshal who had opened fire switched roles from enforcer to first responder, administering first aid to the wounded suspect. 

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A U.S. Marshal in a blue jacket labeled "POLICE U.S. MARSHAL" examining an array of confiscated weapons and tools laid out on the ground

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Flowers was subsequently hospitalized, arrested, and charged with severe offenses including attempted carjacking and assaulting an officer.

Clarifying the Security Detail's Assignment

Amidst the aftermath, it was confirmed by a U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson that the officers were assigned to protect Supreme Court justices. 

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor engaged in conversation while sitting in an elegantly decorated office

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This specific incident, which took place close to Justice Sotomayor’s home, was a part of their routine protective duties and not a targeted attack against her.

Rekindled Debate Over Gun Rights

The incident reignited a fiery debate on gun rights, particularly focusing on Justice Sotomayor’s reputedly restrictive views on the Second Amendment. 

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A crowd of protesters with a prominent sign reading "Shall Not Be Infringed" among other signs advocating gun rights

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Conservatives and gun rights advocates quickly pointed to the irony in the situation, given her judicial history.

Sotomayor’s Second Amendment Record Scrutinized

Justice Sotomayor’s involvement in the dissent of the 2010 McDonald v. Chicago case was brought back into the limelight. 

Supreme Court Justices, including Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, posing together in judicial robes inside a courtroom

Source: Wikimedia Commons

She had agreed with Justice Stephen Breyer’s assertion that “the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense.”

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Irony Noted on Social Media

Platforms like X (formerly Twitter) became battlegrounds for commentary, with users pointing out the apparent contradictions in the justice’s protected status versus her legal opinions. 

Close-up of a black vehicle's tailgate adorned with a U.S. Marshal insignia, showcasing various tactical gear including a rifle and a handgun

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The conservative group Libs of TikTok noted, “Meanwhile, Sotomayor’s armed security team just shot a would-be carjacker outside her house.”

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Activist Highlights Defensive Gun Use

Ryan Petty, known for his advocacy after his daughter’s death in the Parkland shooting, highlighted the incident as a case of “Defensive gun use.” 

A semi-automatic pistol next to a magazine filled with bullets, both resting on a bright red background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

His comment illustrated ongoing discussions about the practical need for armed defense, even as debates about gun control continue.

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Online Outcry Over Perceived Hypocrisy

Further online reactions demonstrated discontent with the perceived double standards regarding gun rights for public figures versus ordinary citizens. 

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor laughing heartily, surrounded by attendees in a blurred background at a public speaking event

Source: Wikimedia Commons

One post read, “‘Guns for me, not for thee.’ – Sotomayor,” capturing a sentiment echoed by many following the incident.

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Public Support for the Second Amendment

The incident also drew support from Second Amendment proponents, with social media users affirming the importance of self-defense rights. 

Protestors at a gun rights rally with a sign stating "Hammer, screwdrivers and knives kill more people than rifles. 2nd Amendment protects your freedom and liberties," in front of a government building

Source: Wikimedia Commons

One user’s light-hearted comment, “Thank God for the second amendment,” highlighted the deep-seated values many Americans hold regarding personal protection.

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Sotomayor on the Importance of Gun Rights

In a more reflective tone, Justice Sotomayor had previously articulated during her 2009 Senate confirmation hearing her respect for the right to bear arms. 

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaking expressively while seated on stage, with a bouquet of flowers and water glasses on a table in front of her

Source: Wikimedia Commons

She committed to maintaining an “open mind” on gun rights issues, promising not to prejudge future cases as a justice on the Supreme Court.

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A Nation Divided on Gun Control

As the debate rages on, incidents like these serve as stark reminders of the complex, often personal implications of America’s gun control discussions. 

A crowd of diverse protesters at a rally, one prominently holding a sign that reads "GUN CONTROL NOW,"

Source: Wikimedia Commons

With the country still grappling with these issues, the importance of robust and fair protection for all citizens remains a critical topic of national concern.

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