By Dean Miller
To fill the position of retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh has a very long and very negative history with regard to personal rights of Americans citizens. Judge Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice would be a GRAVE danger to the rights of ordinary American citizens.
As a judge, Kavanaugh always votes the wrong way. He has always voted in favor of policies that remove rights from average citizens. Judge Kavanaugh always votes in favor of large corporations at the expense of average citizens. He always puts the “rights” of corporations over the rights of citizens.
Soon after Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced, the White House began circulating to business leaders a memo promoting his pro-business rulings. The memorandum said the judge had overruled federal agencies some 75 times. The memo said “Judge Kavanaugh protects American businesses from illegal job-killing regulations,” There is no evidence that regulations kill jobs.
Kavanaugh is opposed to labor unions. He opposes our freedom to join together in strong unions to be a check on the power of corporations and set standards for our safety, benefits, and pay.
Kavanaugh opposes consumer protection. In one of Judge Kavanaugh’s best-known rulings, he said the legal structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was unconstitutional because it was led by a single director, unlike other agencies with several commissioners. Judge Kavanaugh sought to remedy the problem by empowering the president to fire the director.
Kavanaugh has favored limiting the power of federal regulatory agencies, including those regarding “net neutrality”. Judge Kavanaugh took a position favored by some big telecommunications companies when he wrote a dissenting opinion in a case that had upheld the Obama administration’s net neutrality regulation. The rule, passed by the Federal Communications Commission, required big internet providers to treat data equally and to not favor some data companies over others. The judge said the rule violated the First Amendment by interfering with the editorial decision-making of Internet providers. So, as always with Kavanaugh, the rights of corporations supplants the rights of average citizens.
Kavanugh is opposed to a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. He lauded the late Chief Justice Rehnquist for dissenting in Roe vs. Wade. Kavanaugh ruled with the Trump Administration when they tried to refuse abortion services to Jane Doe, an undocumented minor who sought to terminate an unwanted pregnancy while being detained in a federal immigrant shelter. Kavanaugh also wrote that employers’ religious beliefs should allow them to deny their employees birth control coverage. So, apparently, he believes a woman can’t use birth control and can’t have an abortion.
Kavanaugh, for some reason, opposes health benefits from employers. The Judge routinely ruled against working families, rejecting their rights to receive employer-provided health care in the workplace. He also sided with employers to deny employees relief from workplace discrimination.
Kavanaugh’s opinions also suggest he would align with Trump to gut the Affordable Care Act, allowing profitable health insurance companies to discriminate against millions of people with pre-existing conditions. In his 2012 dissent on a ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act, he suggested that a future president could refuse to enforce the ACA even if it was upheld by the Supreme Court. He has refused to defend the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the no-cost birth control requirement infringed employers’ religious liberty. Thus, he once again ruled in favor of the “rights” of corporations over the rights of citizens.
Kavanaugh is opposed to the separation of church a state. Kavanaugh, a zealous Catholic, lauded former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist for rejecting the notion of “a wall of separation between church and state” (Thomas Jefferson’s words). Kavanaugh noted that Rehnquist had maintained that the “wall of separation between church and state” was a misleading metaphor “based on bad history.” “Throughout [Rehnquist’s] tenure and to this day,” he added, the court has “sought to cordon off public schools from state-sponsored religious prayers.” Note that he wanted “state-sponsored” prayers, even though this is prohibited by the Constitution. Kavanaugh also noted how Rehnquist wrote a court opinion upholding a state law that gave parents government tax money to pay for sending their children to religious schools.
Judge Kavanaugh has consistently ruled against environmental protections. He struck down EPA protections under the Clean Air Act, opposed efforts to fight climate change, and stood against protections for clean water.
But above all, the most alarming concern is that Kavanaugh allows policies that promote an oppressive government. He has an expansive view on executive power. He believes that presidents should not be distracted by lawsuits or investigations while in office. Kavanaugh argues that presidents can’t be indicted, sued, or even investigated.
Two years ago, Judge Brett Kavanaugh expressed his desire to overturn a three-decade-old Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel. Speaking to a conservative group in 2016, Kavanaugh bluntly said he wanted to “put the final nail” in Morrison v. Olson, which upheld the constitutionality of provisions creating an independent counsel as part of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act. But despite his aversion to independent counsels investigating a President (such as the Mueller investigation), Kavanaugh had no problem with the independent counsel that investigated President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh worked for Ken Starr, who famously investigated President Bill Clinton.
Also, Kavanaugh once suggested that the Supreme Court decision that forced President Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes may have been “wrongly decided.”
Kavanaugh has said that banning assault rifles would be like banning speech, declaring that an assault rifle ban is unconstitutional.
Kavanaugh has also defended police abuses. He lauded the late Chief Justice Rehnquist’s unsuccessful effort to throw out the so-called “exclusionary rule,” which forbids police from using illegally obtained evidence – i.e., he thinks police can use evidence illegally obtained. He also opposed a court ruling that police must warn suspects of their right to remain silent and to consult with a lawyer. And he has argued for restricting the rights of citizens to access our court system.
Kavanaugh has said he will follow the Constitution, but his record shows that he has regularly, on every issue he has faced, promoted policies that are the opposite of – to the contrary of – the Constitution.
“My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law,” Kavanaugh said. “A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.”
Even though Kavanaugh wrote that a sitting President should not be the subject of a criminal investigation (which is not in the Constitution), Kavanaugh was in the thick of Ken Starr’s ruthless pursuit of President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh helped participate in Starr’s investigation of President Clinton while he was in office, helped author the Starr Report, and helped draft the impeachment against President Clinton.
Also, the Constitution is clear regarding the separation of church and state, yet Kavanaugh was sympathetic to state-sponsored prayers in schools and tax-payer funded religious education, as mentioned earlier.
It is obvious why Trump nominated Kavanaugh. Did Trump not choose Kavanaugh to help legally protect himself? Kavanaugh is a get-out-of-jail free card if the Trump/Russia investigation goes to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has an expansive view on executive power – a belief that presidents should be immune from lawsuits, indictments, or criminal investigations while in office.
President Trump already believes in expansive presidential powers. He doesn’t need another justice who agrees what that. If any president should be given carte blanche, it’s definitely not this one.
President Trump currently is a subject of an ever-expanding investigation. The investigation is ongoing, and it seems like there are new developments breaking every day. A number of people close to President Trump or his campaign team have already pled guilty as a result of the Mueller probe. Thus far, from Trump’s team, Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has produced 20 subjects of charges, 23 indictments, 70 charges, 5 guilty pleas, and 1 prison sentence. The investigation could very well end up before the Supreme Court — a clear conflict of interest that should prevent this President from making any Supreme Court nominations while the investigation is ongoing.
Add to that the president’s history of demanding loyalty tests. This President has flirted with pardoning himself, and he has pardoned many others of questionable innocence.
It’s clear his Supreme Court nominee could end up in an untenable position. The nominee may well be forced to choose between an unconstitutional oath of loyalty to President Trump and an oath to uphold the Constitution as a Supreme Court justice.
This whole process is going to move extremely fast. The Republicans in Congress are rushing the process in order to confirm a new justice before the next election this fall – and to act before the American people have a chance to realize what’s at stake.
With his pick of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has nominated someone who will put our access to the courts, our rights, our health, our safety, and the environment at risk. Judge Kavanaugh has consistently ruled against environmental protections, struck down EPA protections under the Clean Air Act, opposed efforts to fight climate change, and stood against protections for clean water.
Kavanaugh has also favored limiting the power of federal regulatory agencies, while arguing for corporate deregulation and unlimited executive powers for the President of the United States. He has an expansive view on executive power and a belief that presidents should not be distracted by lawsuits or investigations while in office.
Kavanaugh believes the President is above the law. He has expressed disturbing views on presidential power and would fail to be an independent check on President Trump.
A Supreme Court nominee should be fair, independent and committed to protecting the rights, freedoms and legal safeguards that protect citizens, not the chief executive or corporations. But Judge Brett Kavanaugh does not meet this standard.
Judge Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice would be a GRAVE danger to the rights of American citizens.
We must urgently oppose the confirmation Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This includes supporting the delay of a confirmation vote. If there is a vote, we must urge our Senators to vote NO to Judge Kavanaugh.