Brett Kavanaugh: Trump’s supreme court pick is conservative rising star
The DC appeals court judge, 53, worked for Ken Starr’s Bill Clinton inquiry and George W Bush’s White House
In selecting Brett Kavanaugh for the supreme court, Donald Trump has picked a jurist who has long been touted as a conservative rising star.
Kavanaugh worked in the George W Bush White House before being nominated to the DC court of appeals in 2003. He was confirmed in 2006 after Democrat mounted a long fight against his nomination on the grounds that Kavanaugh was overly partisan.
Before his stint in the Bush White House, Kavanaugh worked for Ken Starr, the lawyer who led its review of President Bill Clinton in the 1990 ‘s. Kavanaugh helped author the Starr Report, which laid out the suit for Clinton’s impeachment and removal from office. He also did legal work for the Bush campaign during the Florida election recount.
In light of Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Kavanaugh will probably face questions about his views on whether sitting chairmen can face criminal investigation. In a 2009 law review article, he stated that impeachment was an adequate precaution if a president does something dastardly.
The President’s job is difficult enough as is, wrote Kavanaugh. And the country loses when the President’s focus is confused by the burdens of civil litigation or criminal investigation and possible prosecution.
The 53 -year-old has impeccable academic credentials. He is a alumnu of Yale College and Yale Law School and clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose retirement vacated the seat that he has been nominated for. Since taking the bench, Kavanaugh has authored 286 different opinions. In his introduction speech for Kavanaugh, Trump praised his opinions for their ability, insight and rigorous adherence to the law and noted that over a dozen have been adopted by the supreme court as the law of the land.
The Maryland native has two daughters and met his wife, Ashley, when she served as personal secretary to George W Bush. In his statements in the East Room of the White House on Monday, Kavanaugh talked about going out on his first date with his wife the previous day the 9/11 terrorist attacks and then together being ushered to security by the Secret Service the next day.
Kavanaugh also praised his spirited daughters, Margaret and Liza, and talked about coaching them in youth basketball and attending a women’s Final Four game with them.
He also discussed his Catholic religion, proclaiming: I am a proud member of the Catholic community in DC, while noting the priest for whom he served as an altar boy was in attendance for the announcement. Kavanaugh also mentioned the motto of his Jesuit high school, Georgetown Prep: Men for others. If confirmed, he will be the second Georgetown Prep graduate on the supreme court, joining Neil Gorsuch, who graduated two years after him.
Some social conservative groups have warned that Kavanaugh is insufficiently conservative, citing decisions on Obamacare and abortion where the government had felt that he did not go far enough in his opinions. In particular, they quote a 2011 ruling in which he dissented from a decision that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional exclusively on jurisdictional grounds and not as a matter of statute. The American Family Association, a prominent fundamentalist Christian group, came out on Monday night against Kavanaughs nomination because his reasoning on religious liberty, Obamacare and issues concerning life have proven to be of major concern.
He has also faced criticism for not joining in a strident dissent in a case about whether an undocumented minor in government custody could seek an abortion. Although Kavanaugh wrote the Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion, he did not join in a colleagues dissent, which argued that the minor could not have a constitutional right to abortion access under Roe v Wade because she was not a citizen.
Kavanaugh also has a robust opinion of the second amendment. In 2011, he argued in a disagreement that the District of Columbia’s assault weapons forbidding was unconstitutional. There is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles, he wrote .
Kavanaugh may also face scrutiny from Senate Democrat over accusations that he misled the judiciary committee when nominated for the DC court of appeals over his knowledge of detention programs for foe fighters in the Bush administration.