Judge Brett Kavanaugh: What You Need to Know
Written by Alexandra Lang on July 11, 2018
Yesterday, President Trump announced his nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who will replace the retiring Chief Justice Anthony Kennedy. Currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh also served as President George W. Bush’s Staff Secretary, and once clerked for Chief Justice Kennedy.
Democrats are already making great efforts to oppose his confirmation, seeking justice after republicans were able to circumvent Obama nominee Merrick Garland’s nomination process. A group of democratic leaders gathered on the Supreme Court steps to sound their opposition. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) rallied the crowd “President Trump has told us what he wants to do. He wants to roll back individual rights. He wants to roll back women’s rights. He wants to roll back workers’ rights. He wants to roll back civil rights. But I want to tell you right now: we will not go backwards!”
While democrats prepare for battle, republicans are very optimistic about Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination, despite the potential swing votes on both sides of the aisle. So, here are a few facts you should know about the man who could be our next Supreme Court Justice.
- Kavanaugh worked on the Starr Report, the investigation into President Clinton under independent counsel Ken Starr that ultimately contributed to Clinton’s impeachment. The report addressed the affair between the president and Monica Lewinsky.
- His stance on abortion has varied. CNN reports that, when Kavanaugh testified during the nomination process for DC circuit judge, he was asked about his personal opinion on abortion. While he did not wish to share it, he promised that “[i]f confirmed to the DC Circuit, I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the court. It has been decided by the Supreme Court.” However, his record on the subject and President Trump’s promise to nominate justices who would overturn Roe v Wade, the case that legalized abortion, leave many pro-choice activists worried.
- He has written an opinion essay in which he supported giving presidents the power to manipulate the timeline of investigations and suits against them. In the article, from a 2009 law review, he supports “[p]rovid[ing] sitting presidents with a temporary deferral of civil suits and of criminal prosecutions and investigations.” He also explains that “If the president does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available.” Many democrats are concerned about this opinion, considering the investigation under Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which the president has attempted to discredit many times.
In general, Kavanaugh is a conservative favorite, likely suggested to Trump by the conservative organization The Federalist Society. However, conservatives and democrats alike have their concerns about him; democrats worry about his conservative rulings and role in the ‘90s Clinton investigation and some republicans dislike opinions in which he took a more liberal stance.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced recently that the Senate will vote on the nominee in the fall, but no official date has been announced.