President Donald Trump announced on Monday night that he has nominated federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Kavanaugh, 53, is a former aide to President George W. Bush and a longtime opponent of former President Bill Clinton, having worked under former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.
President Trump will nominate Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 10, 2018
Kavanaugh is considered by many to be a conservative judge but is not without potential red flags. In a piece published on Monday, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro wrote the following about Kavanaugh:
Kavanaugh has a heavy base of support particularly among former Bush administration staffers. His critics essentially make three claims. First, they argue that in a case called Seven Sky, he went out of his way to avoid jurisdiction over Obamacare by classifying its fine as a tax — the first time that position had been legally argued — and in doing so, provided Chief Justice Roberts the club he would later wield to uphold Obamacare against Constitutional challenge. Kavanaugh’s defenders say that this is just an example of Kavanaugh using judicial restraint in order to avoid ruling on the case in the first place. Second, critics argue that in a case called Priests for Life, Kavanaugh expressed that the government had a “compelling government interest” in provision of contraceptive coverage. Kavanaugh’s fans say that his language was reflective of the Supreme Court holding in Hobby Lobby (though this is dubious). Third, critics say that in a case called Garza, Kavanaugh didn’t join a dissent that criticized Roe v. Wade, instead rejecting the government’s necessity to provide an abortion for an illegal immigrant on other grounds. Kavanaugh’s defenders point out that another judge on the D.C. Circuit who did write critically of Roe joined Kavanaugh’s dissent in the case. Finally, Kavanaugh granted standing to an atheist suing the government over the Pledge of Allegiance.
“In keeping with President Reagan’s legacy, I do not ask about a nominee’s personal opinions,” Trump said at the announcement. “What matters is not a judge’s political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require.”
Trump made the 9 p.m. announcement at the White House after two weeks of anticipation and now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will get to work in what many experts predict will be a brutal confirmation battle.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh
•53 yrs old
•DC Court of Appeals Judge
•Former clerk for Justice Kennedy
•1994-98: Office of Independent Counsel Starr
—led probe into death of Clinton aide
—helped write report outlining grounds for Clinton impeachment
•2001-06: Served in Bush Admin https://t.co/HZsNtyqfw4
— Fox News Research (@FoxNewsResearch) July 10, 2018