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Trump Names Brett Kavanaugh as New SCOTUS Judge; Some Say There Was Favoritism
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10 Jul 2018 04:09 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer: Image: Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh (Image: Screenshot)



The whole country was waiting to find out who Donald Trump was going to nominate as the newest judge for the Supreme Court. Out of a field of four nominees, he chose Brett Kavanaugh. But was it really that much of a surprise? Some are saying retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy had much to say about who would replace him. 

This all should make Democrats feel kind of snookered. Two years ago Judge Antonin Scalia passed away, leaving an empty seat in the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow former President Barack Obama to nominate anyone, explaining they should let the people decide at the polls. They did, Trump won, and that meant he won the right to nominate the next judge, a spot that went to Justice Neil Gorsuch.


Kennedy announced his retirement late last month, and immediately it brought up fear and questions. Democrats were in fear of the replacement being a judge even further conservative than Kennedy, and there were questions on what would happen to landmark rulings such as gay marriage and abortion rights. 

Despite Democrats deploring the president to let the polls decide this one, waiting again until after the November election, he forged on ahead, and of course McConnell did nothing to stop him.


Monday night in a prime time event, Trump named his man, 53-year-old Kavanaugh. He's well-known to former George W. Bush's circle, serving as a senior official at the White House during this term and also lending a hand in the investigation of former President Bill Clinton, working with independent counsel Kenneth Starr. 

It should be noted that while Kavanaugh was on the team to bring Clinton down, he has since changed his tune and decided sitting presidents should not be open to civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, and investigations. That could certainly be something that could tip the hat in his favor with Trump.


"He's a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time," Trump said as he announced his choice. "And just like Justice Gorsuch, he excelled as a legal clerk for Justice Kennedy." The president added that Kavanaugh "deserves a swift confirmation and robust bipartisan support." 

While the moderate Kennedy sometimes aligned his decisions with the more liberal justices, it's unknown how Kavanaugh, who emphasized his Roman Catholic faith and family, will align his decisions.


"My judicial philosophy is straightforward: a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history, and tradition, and precedent," he told the crowd on Monday night. 

Some White House insiders don't feel it's that much of a coincidence that he's a former clerk of Kennedy's.


There are several stories out there on Tuesday morning as reported by NBC Capitol Hill reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell on Twitter, and they range from Kennedy not agreeing to retire until he knew he would be replaced with Kavanaugh, to Kennedy giving the president a list of acceptable names who he approved of as his replacement, to Kennedy meeting with Trump to announce his retirement and convincing him to go with Kavanaugh. 

It's unknown how much of those stories are true, if anything at all. But if there was at least some bias on Kennedy's part that he left with Trump, on its own it's not so much of a big deal, but remembering that two years ago it was said it should be up to the people at the polls, in just two years we've gone from being up to the people to being up to a retiring justice.

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