Daily Kos Staff writer Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza asks “Why Kavanaugh?” And then answers in Two words: abortion and indictment.
There’s a reason I predicted Trump would pick Amy Coney Barrett over Brett Kavanaugh: She offered tremendous strategic advantages.
The flip side is that Kavanaugh offers relatively few advantages and quite a few vulnerabilities. But Trump’s decision, of course, likely didn’t have much to do with strategy. He had two things on his mind: criminalizing abortion and evading indictment.
Trump promised the religious right he’d only nominate pro-life justices, a clear vow to overturn Roe v Wade and pave the way to recriminalize abortion. Kavanaugh fits the bill.
Fatima Goss Graves
Trump fulfills his promise to nominate a justice to overturn Roe. #Scotus nominee is #JudgeKavanaugh. 1) Voted to allow religious beliefs to override the right to birth control; 2) Voted to block a young immigrant woman to access abortion care. #SaveSCOTUS
Remember the undocumented pregnant minor who was denied access to an abortion? Brett Kavanaugh was in the minority of judges who voted against giving her access to an abortion. He will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Better yet, Kavanaugh wrote a law review article that proposed passing a law to protect the president from criminal investigation or prosecution.
In selecting Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump is picking the one person who’s argued more than anyone else in the nominee pool that a sitting President can’t be criminally indicted under the Constitution.
That’s really striking.
The biggest strategic advantage Kavanaugh offers? His indisputable qualifications.
With Barrett, the hope was that Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski—who’ve wavered from the Republican line on both health care and reproductive freedom—would have had a clear, defensible reason for refusing to vote for her: her relative inexperience. Those senators will have a tougher time refusing to confirm Kavanaugh without staking their votes on health care and choice, thereby exposing themselves to attack from the right.
Amy Davidson Sorkin writing at the New Yorker pursues the question in more detail: Why Donald Trump Nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Trump, in part of his opener, said "when it comes to today’s Supreme Court, can only be called an utter falsehood: “What matters is not a judge’s political views.”
… assuming that Kavanaugh takes the bench this fall, when he will be just fifty-three years old, his political views will matter for decades to come.
In addition to the Daily Kos’ two words answering “Why Kavanaugh?”, Sorkin adds “environment” and “guns”.
He has a strong record of ruling against regulations, notably environmental ones. His position opposing gun control goes significantly beyond an embrace of the Court’s controversial ruling, in Heller, that there is an individual right to bear arms—those whom Trump calls the “Second Amendment people” can rest easy with Kavanaugh. And recently Kavanaugh ruled, in the case of Garza v. Hargan, with the minority in favor of the Trump Administration and against an undocumented minor who was trying to get an abortion in Texas. Some conservatives worried that his decision didn’t come down strongly enough against reproductive rights. Kavanaugh presented himself as being constrained by the government’s failure to contest the premise that the girl had a theoretical right to an abortion, but he was also willing to let the government make it prohibitively difficult, if not impossible, for her actually to get one. In this, he embodies what is likely the near future of reproductive-rights jurisprudence: the stretching into meaninglessness of the standard, laid out in the Supreme Court decisions following Roe v. Wade, that the government should not put an “undue burden” on a woman when she seeks to exercise her right to end an early pregnancy. (The next-near future may simply be the overturning of Roe.)
Kavanaugh, who was a clerk for Anthony Kennedy, later worked for the independent counsel Kenneth Starr, during his investigation of President Bill Clinton. What that taught Kavanaugh about when to impeach a President has been a point of speculation. In a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review, he wrote that Congress should consider exempting sitting Presidents from criminal indictment, because such cases were distracting and “inevitably politicized”; at the same time, he wrote, “If the President does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available.” Trump, anyway, seems satisfied. …