Kavanaugh’s Conservativism

Vice President Mike Pence and former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl escorted Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh to Capitol Hill yesterday for his first series of meetings with key senators.  Naturally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office was the first stop of the day.

McConnell has vowed to ensure that the Senate confirms Kavanaugh in time for him to take Kennedy’s seat when the Supreme Court convenes in October.  Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer declared yesterday, “I’m going to fight this nomination with everything I’ve got.”  So the fight is on!

By the way, as you may recall, Schumer previously demanded that the Senate delay a vote on Kennedy’s replacement until next year, at which point he hopes to be Majority Leader and in a position to torpedo Trump’s nominee.

Well, a recent NBC News poll found that Americans have little patience for Schumer’s obstructionism — 62% say the Senate should vote on the Kavanaugh nomination before the November elections.

Since the nomination was announced Monday night, we have received numerous messages expressing varying degrees of interest and concern about Kavanaugh’s record.  So I’d like to offer a few points that I hope our readers will find encouraging.

  • The same vetting process that produced Justice Neil Gorsuch has also produced Judge Brett Kavanaugh. And given Gorsuch’s record, I find that reassuring.
  • A legal reporter with the Supreme Court news site SCOTUSblogdescribed Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy as “conservative,” adding that he has “applied principles of textualism and originalism espoused by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.”
  • Speaking of Scalia, as I noted yesterday, Kavanaugh once hailed Antonin Scalia as “a hero and role model.”  I don’t think many liberal or even centrist judges would say that.
  • A former Yale law professor who taught Kavanaugh wrote that he is “an avid consumer of legal scholarship. . . who prioritizes the Constitution’s original meaning.”
  • An ideological ranking system developed by a group of political science professors determined that Kavanaugh “would have the second most conservative score on the bench if confirmed, next to Justice Clarence Thomas.”

My friend Clarence Thomas is a very high bar.  But if Kavanaugh is close to Gorsuch or Scalia, he will be significantly better than Anthony Kennedy.

—Gary Bauer
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