Brett Kavanaugh Explained

Kavanaugh is a right-wing hack whose opinions on cases depend less on “settled law” than on whether the plaintiffs are Republicans or Democrats.

Although it’s been widely reported that he thinks presidents should be immune from pesky things like subpoenas and prosecutorial scrutiny, he held a different opinion back when he was helping Ken Starr investigate Bill Clinton. Josh Marshall:

Kavanaugh was a young legal gun (early 30s) on one of the most thoroughly corrupt and brazenly partisan investigations in American history, the do-over Independent Counsel investigation which Ken Starr ran for most of the 1990s, investigating almost every aspect of Bill Clinton’s time in office and the decades which preceded his presidency. Kavanaugh, in addition to being part of the investigation, was also a or the principal author of the notorious Starr Report, a voluminous and gratuitous play-by-play narration of the Clinton-Lewinsky Affair and a brief for impeachment.

In that document, Kavanaugh argued for a comically broad theory of what constituted obstruction of justice and impeachable offenses. He suggested that Clinton’s efforts to delay being interviewed by the Independent Counsel amounted to obstruction of justice and that lying to his staff and the American people were impeachable offenses. Needless to say, by this standard, President Trump commits numerous impeachable offenses every single day.

But of course, his supporters say, he is more mature now.

Many commentators are now arguing that the youthful Kavanaugh had one view while the more seasoned District Court Judge saw the matter differently a decade later. Please. Kavanaugh showed a judicious flexibility to allow his views to evolve as they were applied to either Democrats or Republicans, to political foes or friends. There is nothing more pressing and relevant in this political moment than the President’s subservience to the rule of law. Kavanaugh has been all over the map on that question, depending on whether the President was a Republican or Democrat. That all needs to be sorted out before he becomes the deciding vote on whether President needs to answer to the law.

Democrats must pound Kavanaugh with this in the Senate hearings. If they don’t … well, then, there’s no point to them, is there?

It should go without saying that Kavanaugh is entirely on board with Citizens United jurisprudence, weaponizing the Court against organized labor and finally overturning Roe v Wade in its entirety. But we should not overlook his focused opposition to the Affordable Care Act and the way he is likely to use his power on the Court to further gut the law and send us back to the era of no coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Susan Collins has said that she would be loathe to vote for nominee who would overturn Roe, but of course they’re not supposed to directly ask nominees if they would overturn Roe, because somebody made up that rule sometime and they all abide by it. But Kavanaugh has history.

In a high-profile case involving abortion late last year, Kavanaugh wrote in dissent of a decision from the DC Circuit’s full bench to permit a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant to seek an abortion while in federal custody.

The Trump administration had denied the teen’s request, saying it did not want to be “facilitating” abortions for unaccompanied minors. Kavanaugh argued that the majority “badly erred” in their decision to allow the process anyway.

He characterized the ruling as creating a new right for undocumented immigrant minors in US custody to receive “immediate abortion on demand.”

Kavanaugh, along with two GOP-appointed colleagues wrote: “The Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion,” adding that the decision was “a radical extension of the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence.”

This previous case may indicate how he could rule in future cases involving abortion.

May indicate? It’s a freaking 90-f00t-high flashing neon sign saying that he’ll vote against reproductive rights at every opportunity.  They might as well put the statue of Justice Taney back on the lawn in Maryland if crap like Kavanaugh  is sitting on the Court.

Statue of Roger B. Taney being removed from Maryland state house, August 2017

The New York Times editorial board:

Senate Democrats need to use the confirmation process to explain to Americans how their Constitution is about to be hijacked by a small group of conservative radicals well funded by ideological and corporate interests, and what that means in terms of the rights they will lose and the laws that will be invalidated over the next several decades.

We’re witnessing right now a global movement against the idea of liberal democracy and, in places like Hungary and Poland, its grounding in an independent judiciary. Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans appear happy to ride this wave to unlimited power. They will almost certainly win this latest battle, but it’s a victory that will come at great cost to the nation, and to the court’s remaining legitimacy.

Americans who care about the court’s future and its role in the American system of government need to turn to the political process to restore the protections the new majority will take away, and to create an environment where radical judges can’t be nominated or confirmed. As those tireless conservative activists would be the first to tell you, winning the future depends on deliberate, long-term organizing in the present, even when — especially when — things appear most bleak.

It would take a miracle to keep this creep off the Court, but at least I want to see Democrats make an all-out fight of it.

11 thoughts on “Brett Kavanaugh Explained

  1. "An all-out fight" indeed!

    The final result of Kavanaugh being appointed must be to hang the reversal of Roe around the necks of every  Senator who voted to seat Kavanaugh. That includes  Democrats. Any incumbent Democrat who seats K should know there will be a HUGE primary fund waiting, now or 6 years from now EXCLUSIVELY to give a Democrat the funds to bounce him/her in the Primary. 

    If somebody wants to set up a PAC fund for that now, I will kick in a few bucks every month up to the vote. Call it the Progressive Payback Super PAC. If that PAC got up to 40 or 50 million and it was pointed at the wavering Democrats, they might have second thoughts.

  2. The Democrats should NOT vote for anything especially this supreme court nominee until the children are reunited with their parents!  Where are the babies!  His administration does not ever plan to comply with the court orders.  We should not let him and his inhumane staff be able to get anything accomplished until he complies with the court orders on the children and babies.  They are more important than Brett Kavanagh.  Three million more Americans voted for Hillary and seven million more voted for Jill Stein or other.  That is ten million more Americans who voted AGAINST trump!!!!  We need to assert our majority and stop letting him get away with murder!  And, any Republican who has a conscience should join us.  But, I don't think there any Republicans with consciences.

    And, now for my next test:  to see if this comment gets posted.

  3. This can must be kicked down the road and past the election.  It is only fair.  If children can live in ICE houses, lice infected and dirty and without their parents, then we can live with six justices till January.  

  4. “The Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life …. and refraining from facilitating abortion,”

    “Originality”, my behind! This is created out of whole cloth using chewing gum an sky-fairy dust. I bet the government has no permissible interest in not executing innocent darker-skinned defendants.

  5. To more easily explain to the many stupid, ignorant, or uninterested people what the what the country is likely to end up like under Conservative rule,  all the Democrats need to do, is show them a TV series:

    "The Handmaid's Tale."

    The fight is on, Liberals! 

    NOTE:  No knives allowed!  6-shooter's on up, only!   


  6. It's remarkable to me that Kavanaugh has been near the center of every Republican fight in recent history – from the persecution of Bill Clinton, to the George W Bush recount, to Citizen's United. I feel that he will prove to be a get out of jail free card for Donald Trump – the only thing Trump cares about. He will be the loyalist that Sessions is not.

    I felt our country slipping away with the Supreme Court's intervention in W's election, even more with Citizen's United, then with the one sided rulings from Roberts + Gorsuch. It just keeps accelerating, and will slip away even faster with Kavanaugh.

  7. The Republican Party is not only NOT the party for family values; it is not even the party for families.

  8. Taxation without representation did not work out so well for George III. The GOP would do well to remember this. Their support of the filthy oil industry provides us ready access to tar and feathers and it may come to that, as they have seized control of all branches of government. There are far more of us than there are of them. And most of them are in their ‘80s and can’t run away very fast.

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