Yesterday President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. A one-time aide to President George W. Bush, Kavanaugh is branded as a true conservative and has won the support of many Republicans. Who exactly is Brett Kavanaugh and what is his judicial record?
Kavanaugh graduated from Yale Law School and was a former clerk under Justice Kennedy. Since 2006 Kavanaugh has served as judge on the D.C. Circuit Court. In addition to this, he is concerned with scholarship and has taught law courses at Yale Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, and, since 2009, has been named the Samuel Williston Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. Kavanaugh also volunteers in his community during his free time. He serves meals with St. Maria's Meal program at Catholic Charities in D.C., tutors and is on the Board of Directors at the Washington Jesuit Academy and tutors at J.O. Wilson Elementary School. He also is a lector at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, where he is a parishioner.
Kavanaugh is an "orginalist", meaning he seeks to interpret the Constitution according to the original meaning of the text. He has a long history of promoting conservative values on a myriad of issues. Kavanaugh is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. In 2011, he objected to a ban on semiautomatic rifles in Washington, referencing in his dissent the Supreme Court decision declaring a right to gun ownership outside of military service. He wrote that bans that are not "sufficiently rooted in text, history, and tradition" are inconsistent with the Second Amendment. Kavanaugh tends to rule against environmentalist culture as demonstrated by his dealings with the EPA. In 2012, he wrote a decision rejecting the EPA's attempt to regulate air pollution across state lines, and he continued to limit the EPA's powers. As for contraception and reproductive rights, Kavanaugh appears to be pro-life. He dissented in 2015 with the Obamacare birth control mandate that would potentially infringe upon religious organizations' rights. Last fall he dissented from the decision to allow an undocumented immigrant teenager in custody to obtain an abortion. In favor of tougher immigration control, Kavanaugh opposed granting special visas for Brazilian workers since American workers were capable of performing the same tasks, and he argued to invalidate a union election due to undocumented immigrants voting in it and "tainting" the outcome. As a Catholic, Kavanaugh is naturally inclined to favor religious liberties (though it should be assumed he will uphold the separation of church and state). Kavanaugh favored the use of a Texan public high school's P.A. system to broadcast student-led prayers at its school sporting events. Another important opinion Kavanaugh delivered relates to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a banking industry watchdog and the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren. Kavanaugh wrote that the CFPB's structure was unconstitutional due to the "enormous executive power" held by its sole director. Republicans and bankers alike desire to replace the single director with a multi-member commission, so for Kavanaugh to favor their side was a great victory; however, the structure of the CFPB was declared constitutional. These opinions and decisions demonstrate Kavanaugh's clear allegiance to the rule of law and the Constitution.
During his nomination acceptance speech on Monday, Kavanaugh said, "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent."
In light of his record, we urge the Senate to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice.