President Trump has announced Brett Kavanaugh as his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is a conservative jurist who has served for over a decade on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He previously worked in the George W. Bush White House, and also worked with Kenneth Starr’s team in the effort to impeach former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Notably, Kavanaugh has published scholarly commentary suggesting that Congress should pass a law insulating a sitting president from criminal indictment until after leaving office or being impeached, convicted, and removed from office; he has also written that civil lawsuits should be deferred while the president is in office. Some speculate that these writings could have influenced Trump’s decision to nominate Kavanaugh given the mounting legal scrutiny Trump is facing. If Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate, he is expected to vote with the Court’s conservative majority on issues including abortion, union rights, civil rights, and gun control.
Kavanaugh comes from a list of two dozen potential nominees selected by the conservative Federalist Society. Following Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement, Trump met with four candidates from that list. Some conservatives are concerned that the hundreds of opinions Kavanaugh has authored from the bench could provide fodder for Democrats seeking to delay confirmation of a new justice until after November’s midterm elections, which minority leaders have vowed to do. Many Democrats argue that, just as Judge Merrick Garland’s confirmation was delayed and eventually derailed by the Republican majority under President Obama pending Donald Trump’s inauguration, so too should Trump’s current nomination be delayed until after voters have spoken regarding the makeup of the U.S. Senate at the ballot box later this year.
Brett Kavanaugh Is Trump’s Pick for Supreme Court, The New York Times, July 9, 2018
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