President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy is federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh who reportedly has a long history supporting corporations and guns, while opposing health care for women and environmental laws.
Kavanaugh worked for President George W. Bush, and like Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, he clerked for Kennedy.
Both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch are backed by the right wing Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, noted Democracy Now.
In 2017, Kavanaugh ruled against an undocumented teen girl who sought to have a legal abortion while being imprisoned by the Trump administration. Kavanaugh’s ruling was overturned.
Kavanaugh said allowing the legal abortion would make the government “complicit” in something that is morally objectionable, even though the government has allowed legal abortions since 1973.
Kavanaugh wrote in the Minnesota Law Review in 2009 how a criminally indicted president should not be held legally responsible for his or her actions:
I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office. The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government.
Ian Millhiser, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the editor of ThinkProgress Justice, explained more of Kavanaugh’s background to Democracy Now:
He said that net neutrality violates the First Amendment, where he was a big proponent of gun rights and moved to strike down D.C. gun laws. So, on issue after issue—abortion, birth control—he’s got a really thick record, and he’s very consistently voted with the right on issue after issue…
Millhiser explained how Kavanaugh was actually chosen by the right wing Federalist Society, who gave their recommendations to Trump:
So, the Federalist Society is an organization of conservative lawyers. It’s been around for a really long time.
And what’s interesting about the Federalist Society is it sort of benefits from this cycle where everyone knows if you want a judgeship from a Republican president or if you want a job in a Republican administration, the way to do that is you get a job or you get involved in the Federalist Society when you’re a law student, you ingratiate yourself to them, and then they dole out favors.
And so, because everyone knows that they’re the ones that can dole out those goodies, it’s this self-perpetuating cycle, where people get involved with the organization because they know it’s the place to go, and that means that the best conservative lawyers are getting involved with it.
The mechanism this has provided is that the Federalist Society has moved very, very far to the right in recent years.
You know, they were one of the incubators for this idea that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Recently, they’ve grown obsessed with dismantling federal agencies like the EPA or the Department of Labor. And those were all ideas that just weren’t on the table 10 years ago.
So what’s happened is, the Federalist Society has become the place where if you’re ambitious and you want to get a good job in a Republican administration and you’re a lawyer, you have to go through them.
And they take more and more right-wing positions, which doesn’t just mean that they’re taking those positions. It means that every ambitious Republican lawyer in the country feels like they have to take these extreme positions, or they’re just not going to advance their career.
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