Trump’s Judiciary: Brett Kavanaugh

brett kavanaugh

On July ninth, President Trump officially nominated his second appointment to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Battles are already flaring up between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats and progressives started protesting the pick; making claims that he’ll hurt millions of Americans and threaten our Constitution and democracy. While some conservatives are afraid he won’t be conservative enough.

History

Brett Kavanaugh was born and raised in the D.C. area. His mother was the Maryland state Circuit Court judge in the late 90s. He’s a graduate of Yale University, for both undergraduate and law school.

After law school, he clerked for judges on the third and ninth US Courts of Appeals. Kavanaugh also clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who he’s been nominated to replace. He started to gain recognition working with Kenneth Starr during Starr’s memorable independent investigation into President Bill Clinton’s personal affair with Monica Lewinsky.

After the 2000 election, Kavanaugh went to work for President Bush as a senior counsel member. He was eventually made White House Staff Secretary before being nominated to the US Court of Appeals in D.C. The nomination took three years due to partisanship and Democratic opposition. Democrats protested that Kavanaugh himself was too partisan and he was recommended to the full Senate by a 10-8 vote along party lines and later confirmed by the whole Senate. He took his oath in the summer of 2006 and started hearing cases shortly after.

Stances on Issues

Judge Kavanaugh describes himself as an originalist, meaning he interprets laws by the exact wording of the Constitution, he doesn’t interpret the laws to fit personal views or what he thinks it should mean.

He firmly believes in stare decisis, or the precedents set by prior rulings. This bodes well for those scared he will help reverse Roe v. Wade. Judge Kavanaugh believes that once a precedent is set, it is up to future judges to uphold that precedent and stay consistent. Some conservatives worry about his nomination because they believe he will not uphold their views on abortion; however, it is worth noting that Kavanaugh is a lifelong Catholic.

While serving on the Court of Appeals in D.C. he was the lone dissenting opinion on the district’s ban on semi-automatic weapons.

Conservatives are concerned about a dissenting opinion Kavanaugh wrote in 2011 concerning the Affordable Care Act. In Seven-Sky v. Holder, the D.C. appeals court decided whether the individual mandate was constitutional and Judge Kavanaugh argued, according to the Anti-Injunction Act of 1867, that they could not rule on the issue because the proposed tax wouldn’t go into effect until 2014. Essentially, he verified that it was constitutional because it was a tax. Chief Justice John Roberts used Kavanaugh’s dissent in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the mandate.

Kavanaugh consistently rules against federal government agencies. He has voted against and written opinions on cases fighting the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In one opinion he argued that the CFPB is unconstitutional and works without the consent of the governed because Congress doesn’t vote on the head of the CFPB and he can impose regulations unilaterally.

After working on the Clinton investigation, Brett Kavanaugh decided it would be best for Congress to protect future presidents from criminal investigations. He argues that they cannot effectively perform their duties to the American people when they’re thinking of the investigation. This argument has some merit, just count the number of tweets President Trump has made about the Russia investigation and you’ll see why this appeals to him. However, this could start a dangerous precedent for people in political office, where would the line be drawn?

My Personal Opinion

President Trump played it safe and picked someone that’ll get Senate Republican’s support. The overblown concerns of the left are just that: overblown. I personally favored US Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett. She’s a principled, originalist with a relatable background and would have made a larger impact. However, compared she has less experience than Brett Kavanaugh.

While Judge Kavanaugh was not my favorite for the position I still support it; not because he’s conservative, but because he will make his decisions based on the Constitution and not his own personal beliefs. The number one thing I want, and hopefully most Americans want, is a justice that puts aside their bias and personal opinions to judge according to the Constitution. Brett Kavanaugh fits that description.

Worried conservatives need to stop over-analyzing the few issues they have found. Judge Kavanaugh has proved through other rulings that he fights big government and unchecked government agencies. While he may not actively seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, he will most likely judge in favor of pro-life arguments in future abortion cases, as long as those rulings coincide with the Constitution.

During his next two years and possibly even re-election, Trump could appoint one or two more justices making a permanent stamp on the Supreme Court. Not to mention his lasting effect on other federal courts across the nation. The federal court system is truly becoming President Trump’s judiciary. His legacy won’t be a border wall, it won’t be a North Korean peace summit, it won’t be tax reform, and it won’t be a booming economy. Whenever his time as president ends, Trump’s legacy will be the conservative tide crashing on the federal court system.

Overall, I believe that Judge Kavanaugh will make a good Supreme Court Justice. Not a great one, but a good one. He’s only 53 and will serve for at least twenty years helping President Trump cement his legacy.

About Alex Bunting 4 Articles
Reagan Conservative Kansas State University '21 B.S. Medical Biochemistry

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