Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
President Donald Trump’s nominee for the US Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, has left behind a paper trail on multiple hot-button issues in his 12 years on the bench. Mitch McConnell had hope Trump would pick someone with fewer controversial opinions. And some of these opinions may not be in agreement with the far right and Trump himself.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has told colleagues he might not support Kavanaugh, citing his work in the George W. Bush administration on issues related to congressional investigations. Kavanaugh has declined to discuss his personal views about Roe v. Wade, only saying he would follow Supreme Court precedent if he were confirmed. Kavanaugh’s one opinion citing Roe v. Wade involved a court order to allow a pregnant, undocumented teenager held in US custody to get an abortion.
The anti-abortion crowd was upset that Kavanaugh did not say she had no right to an abortion once she was in the United States. He believed in “allowing the Government to impose reasonable regulations so long as they do not unduly burden the right to abortion that the Court has recognized.”
Kavanaugh also opposed Bush-era torture, supporting the repeal of a Justice Department memo that had authorized the use of various “enhanced interrogation” techniques. “I think that memo did not serve the presidency or this president well.”
So why did Trump pick a Bush-affiliated Justice who may disagree with Trump on torture and abortion? I predicted Kavanaugh would win the nomination when I read the 1998 article he wrote critical of the independent counsel system – even with all the confirmation challenges he will encounter from both the left and the right.
More recently, Kavanaugh also called the law that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cited in his appointment of Mueller as “problematic.” In the article in the Georgetown Law Journal, Kavanaugh said the president should have “absolute discretion” about whether to appoint special counsel. He also claimed a president can only be indicted after leaving office, or after being impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted and removed from office by the Senate. Whether the US Constitution allowed a sitting president to be indicted was “debatable,” Kavanaugh wrote, but Congress should remove the uncertainty with a law.
In a 2009 article in the Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh wrote that Congress should pass a law deferring any civil lawsuits against a president while they’re in office, as well as advocating for exempting a sitting president from criminal investigation or prosecution. Kavanaugh has repeatedly written in favor of giving the president more authority to fire agency officials. Now there’s a Supreme Court Justice Trump can love. How many people, while under criminal investigation by an independent prosecutor, get to pick a judge who may someday soon rule on issues of Trump’s own possible criminality?
Opponents and Democrats in Congress are mounting a campaign to delay confirmation until after the election, so the people will have more say in whether Kavanaugh gets confirmed.
If you have thoughts on Justice Kavanaugh, you can share them with your Senators.