President Trump just nominated far-right judge Brett Kavanaugh, a former clerk of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, to the Supreme Court.
With his resume, pedigree, and history, Brett Kavanaugh, 53, seems to have been preparing to be a right-wing Supreme Court justice from birth. He’s the son of two lawyers, one of whom became a judge. He went to both Yale and Yale Law School and currently teaches at Harvard Law School. (So, you know, an “elite.”)
He’s a devout Catholic, and, most importantly, he got the endorsement of the guy who’s ACTUALLY picking the Supreme Court nominees, the radical right-wing Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo. (Leo put together the list of acceptable candidates that Trump is picking from, because why make your own decisions when you can outsource to an interest group?)
Because of his involvement in so many Republican causes, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) once referred to him as the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics.” He’s close with the Bush family, he was part of Bush’s legal team for the landmark 2000 Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, and he was part of Ken Starr’s independent counsel team that led the investigation eventually resulted in President Clinton’s impeachment for obstruction of justice. As part of that team, he ran point on the investigation into Clinton aide Vince Foster’s death, determining it was a suicide. Unfortunately, this puts him at odds with the GOP’s ascendent right-wing fever swamp who still insist Hillary Clinton shot Foster in cold blood in the woods or something.
He also proposed going as tough as possible on Clinton during his questioning about the Lewinsky scandal.
According to The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr,
In a memo to “Judge Starr” (with a copy to “All Attorneys”), dated just two days before the grand jury showdown, Kavanaugh disclosed a stark division within [the Office of the Independent Counsel] over how to handle this slippery president. He wrote:
After reflecting this evening, I am strongly opposed to giving the President any “break” … unless before his questioning on Monday, he either i) resigns or ii) confesses perjury and issues a public apology to you. I have tried hard to bend over backwards and to be fair to him. … In the end, I am convinced that there really are [no reasonable defenses]. The idea of going easy on him at the questioning is thus abhorrent to me…
[T]he President has disgraced his Office, the legal system, and the American people by having sex with a 22-year-old intern and turning her life into a shambles — callous and disgusting behavior that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle. He has committed perjury (at least) in the [Paula] Jones case. … He has tried to disgrace [Ken Starr] and this Office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.
Kavanaugh listed ten sample questions, however explicit and unsavory, that he believed Starr and his questioners should ask. They included the following:
…If Monica Lewinsky says that you ejaculated into her mouth on two occasions in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?
If Monica Lewinsky says that on several occasions you had her give [you] oral sex, made her stop, and then ejaculated into the sink in the bathroom off the Oval Office, would she be lying?
If Monica Lewinsky says that you masturbated into a trashcan in your secretary’s office, would she [be] lying?
And Starr (kind of) took his advice. Clinton was asked, “If Monica Lewinsky says that you used a cigar as a sexual aid with her in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?”
And that’s not all. He also reportedly called then-First Lady Hillary Clinton a “b*tch.”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is at or near top of SCOTUS list, per several people close to President Trump. But oppo research for possible hearings already moving fast. Sources pt'ing to David Brock's book "Blinded by the Right." Kav alleged to have mouthed an expletive re HRC. Pg. 306. pic.twitter.com/k10MbCm4RR
— Robert Costa (@costareports) July 2, 2018
David Brock, a conservative-operative-turned-liberal who was part of some of the most vicious battles against the Clintons in the 1990s, recounted a story in his conversion memoir about watching the 1997 State Of The Union at right-wing media personality Laura Ingraham’s house. Kavanugh was in attendance, and, according to Brock, “I saw one of Ken Starr’s deputies, Brett Kavanugh, who was sitting across from me, mouth the word “bitch” when the camera panned to Hillary…”
But worse than his alleged potty mouth, misogyny, and partisanship are his actual rulings. Kavanaugh has ruled in favor of the NSA’s expansive (and Constitutionally suspect) wiretapping capabilities, he thinks the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional, and he has (somewhat ironically!) argued that presidents shouldn’t be subjected to either criminal prosecutions or civil cases while in office.
Possible Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh "has been outspoken" about his view "that a sitting President cannot be indicted" and "that is probably music to Donald Trump's ears" – @brianefallon pic.twitter.com/fNglTQFTf5
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) July 9, 2018
The theory wouldn’t necessarily be that he *would* protect him, only that Trump *thinks* he would, because Trump didn’t read beyond the headlines of the stories about Kavanaugh’s alleged hawkish views on presidential power https://t.co/7UEhUOTvKz
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) July 10, 2018
Still, these “conservative” bona fides aren’t good enough for the radical right-wing of the Republican Party. They criticize him for his dissent in an Obamacare case, which hinted that the law could be legal if the individual mandate were considered a tax. Chief Justice John Roberts later relied on the same legal reasoning in upholding the law.
With Kavanugh on the court, Roe v. Wade is almost certainly dead, only awaiting a challenge case. The only thing that stands between the United States and a future where abortion is illegal in large swaths of the country is 51 GOP senators. Really it’s just Senators Collins and Murkowski. If you live in Maine or Alaska, it’s time to let them know what you think.