As you may have heard a few minutes ago, President Trump will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed. I think Trump played it safe by going with the insider.
If you read my mini-bio on Kavanaugh, you know he is a Yale and Yale Law graduate who clerked for Justice Kennedy. He worked in both the Solicitor General’s Office and the White House under President George W. Bush. The only really controversial thing about Kavanaugh is that he is considered to be the principal author of Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s report on President Clinton that led to his impeachment.
Kavanaugh, a Catholic, grew up in the DC area and attended Georgetown Prep before going to Yale. As a Catholic myself, I think for the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, we need to look to someone other than Catholics or Jews to sit on the Supreme Court. While Catholicism is the largest individual religious denomination, Protestants do make the majority of the Christians in the US.
Kavanaugh does have an OK record on reining in the administrative state as you might expect for a judge on the DC Circuit. While he dissented on Heller II which was good, I’m afraid as Professor Nelson Lund has pointed out, he doesn’t quite get Heller and McDonald.
I thought Judge Amy Coney Barrett would have been the more controversial choice and that Judges Hardiman and Kethledge were much better on the Second Amendment. Moreover, none of those three attended Harvard or Yale schools of law which I saw as a big plus.
I read somewhere today that Trump thought Kethledge was “low energy” which might be how an extrovert tends to think of an introvert. As an introvert myself, I consider this bullshit and that Trump was grossly mistaken.
It is not that Kavanaugh is a bad choice but as a Second Amendment supporter above all else I just want to say, “Meh”. Another freaking Ivy League law school grad insider just doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.