Kavanaugh Still Favored For Supreme Court
Wednesday, 04 July 2018 11:45 PM
Kavanaugh has an advantage because he has the most consistent conservative judicial track record of the known candidates — one that mirrors Trump’s views on several key issues, including immigration, trade deals, abortion and gun rights, according to two sources familiar with the current White House selection.
The president’s key legal advisors, White House Counsel Don McGahn and Federalist Society chief Leonard Leo, are also said to be favorable to Kavanaugh. They have argued that he holds two critical criteria for nomination: a Trump-like judicial record and the ability to get confirmed by a razor-thin GOP-controlled Senate.
Holding frontrunner status can be dangerous, however. Kavanaugh has become the target of some conservative groups, including a Daily Caller report that included anonymous sources describing him as close to the Bush family.
“Kavanaugh is Jeb Bush’s pick for the Supreme Court,” The Daily Caller cited one “source” and noted that he worked as associate counsel to President George W. Bush.
But a legal source familiar with Kavanaugh and his background has been surprised by these claims. He says Kavanaugh hasn’t spoken to Jeb Bush in more than a decade.
He adds that Kavanaugh came out of the era of Reagan judicial appointees, including Justice Anthony Kennedy and former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr.
His long record of court opinions show Kavanaugh is no “Bushie” — his rulings have been said to be more like Scalia than Kennedy.
For example, Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion in Heller v. District of Columbia, which unapologetically embraced the Second Amendment and argued that judges should not re-interpret the founder’s original intent.
His ruling is considered the most pro-Second Amendment opinion of any court of appeals opinion, one that has been citied repeatedly by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
In another case, American Meat Inst. v. USDA, Kavanaugh upheld federal requirements that foreign manufacturers had to label country-of-origin on their products, rules that support American manufacturers, farmers and jobs.
Kavanaugh, his supporers say, took a risky position to become Starr’s associate counsel in the Whitewater probe, and his efforts there led to the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Ed Meese, President Reagan’s Attorney General and one of his closest associates, has known Kavanaugh for decades and confirmed he has been a solid Reaganite as a judge.
“I know Brett Kavanaugh reasonably well and think highly of him,” Meese told Newsmax.
“He is a very able guy, an originalist who is faithful to the Constitution and believes in it.”
Other social conservatives claim Kavanaugh has been weak on abortion. But his record paints a different picture.
“On the vital issues of protecting religious liberty and enforcing restrictions on abortion,” Sarah Pitlyk, counsel to the Thomas Moore Society, wrote in National Review, “no court-of-appeals judge in the nation has a stronger, more consistent record than Judge Brett Kavanaugh. On these issues, as on so many others, he has fought for his principles and stood firm against pressure. He would do the same on the Supreme Court.”
The Thomas Moore Society is a national, pro-life public interest law organization.
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