Judge Kavanaugh: One of the Preeminent Legal Minds of His Generation
‘Judge Kavanaugh possesses an impressive resume, an outstanding legal mind, and an exemplary judicial temperament. He has served twelve years on the nation’s most consequential circuit court. During that tenure, he’s proven to be one of the most thorough and thoughtful jurists in America. And importantly, that record demonstrates an understanding of a judge’s proper role in our constitutional Republic.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement regarding President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court:
“President Trump has made a superb selection to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit.
“Judge Kavanaugh possesses an impressive resume, an outstanding legal mind, and an exemplary judicial temperament. He has served twelve years on the nation’s most consequential circuit court. During that tenure, he’s proven to be one of the most thorough and thoughtful jurists in America. And importantly, that record demonstrates an understanding of a judge’s proper role in our constitutional Republic.
“Judge Kavanaugh understands that, in the United States of America, judges are not unelected super-legislators whom we select for their personal views or policy preferences. A judge’s duty is to interpret the plain meaning of our laws and our Constitution according to how they are written. Judges need to be unbiased. They need to treat all parties fairly. They need to approach every case with open ears and an open mind. Judges’ decisions must turn on the facts of each case, and be based on the texts that it is their job to interpret. By all accounts, Judge Kavanaugh is precisely that sort of judge.
“His resume, to put it simply, is top-notch. A bachelor’s degree from Yale, with honors. A law degree, also from Yale, where he was a member of the law review. A lecturing position at Harvard Law School, to which he was appointed, by the way, by then-Dean, and now Justice, Elena Kagan. After graduating, he quickly built a reputation as a star law clerk -- including on the Supreme Court, for Justice Kennedy… As an energetic and talented public servant… And as one of the preeminent legal minds of his generation.
“In 2006, the Senate confirmed him to the D.C. Circuit. He’s compiled an extensive record on the federal bench. He’s published more than 300 opinions, and earned considerable praise for his clear writing and reasoning. So Madame President, Judge Kavanaugh has built a long and distinguished record. It paints a clear picture of how he would conduct himself as a member of the nation’s highest court. It reflects a firm understanding that judges must interpret laws as they are written. We do not choose them to make policy, pick favorites, or craft novel legislation from the bench.
“Now, some of our colleagues -- and others on the left -- seem to see the role of judges very differently. President Obama summed up this alternate view well as a presidential candidate. He explained that he sought to appoint judges who harbored particular empathy for certain parties in certain cases. Well, that’s great if you happen to be the party in the case whom the judge likes. It’s not so great if you’re the other guy. It doesn’t align with our nation’s historical understanding of the rule of law -- or the role that federal courts play in our democracy.
“So I’d respectfully submit that, then and now, some of our Democratic colleagues seem a little confused. They seem to be confusing the nature of a political office with the nature of a judicial office. This would explain why some of our colleagues sound eager to try and turn judicial confirmations into something like political elections...To grill Judge Kavanaugh on policy outcomes -- like voters rightly grill us, when we run for our seats here in the Senate.
“Some Democratic senators have telegraphed they’ll heed the demands of far-left special interest groups and try to force Judge Kavanaugh to commit under oath to the decisions he might make on particular issues in hypothetical cases. Forget that the cases don’t exist yet. Forget the total absence of any facts, legal arguments, or research. Forget how inappropriate and undesirable it would be for a judge to predetermine a ruling before either side’s lawyers uttered a word. That’s simply not how this process has ever worked, or ever could work.
“I’m not the one saying this. Here’s what a prior Supreme Court nominee said on this subject: ’A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints… For that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case… It would display disdain for the entire judicial process.’ End quote. Those are the words of another then-D.C. Circuit Court judge -- and current Supreme Court Justice -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1993. Senators will do well to remember that standard. We’ll do well to remember that we are evaluating a judge, not debating a candidate for political office.
“Even more regrettably, a number of our Democratic colleagues could not even wait until the president’s announcement last night before launching attacks on the president’s nominee. This was, in some cases, quite literally a ‘fill in the blank’ opposition. They wrote statements of opposition, only to fill in the name later. Sadly, this is not a new approach for the far-left special interest groups. Last year, Justice Gorsuch met with partisan opposition before the ink was even dry on his nomination.
“Well, I’m sorry to say that Judge Kavanaugh seems to have already broken that record -- because Senate Democrats were on the record opposing him before he’d even been named, before the ink was even dry on Justice Kennedy’s resignation. This is a tell-tale sign that some of our colleagues are throwing thoughtful, independent judgment out the window and are outsourcing their thinking on this matter to far-left special interest groups.
“As I discussed on the floor yesterday, we know exactly what this partisan playbook looks like. It’s been hauled out for most everyone a Republican president has nominated to the Supreme Court for the past forty years and counting. It’s like clockwork. So I fully anticipate that we’ll hear all kinds of fantastical stories about the pain and suffering that this perfectly-qualified, widely-respected judge will somehow unleash on America if we confirm him to the Court. That kind of cheap political fear-mongering insults the intelligence of the American people.
“Because Americans understand the difference between a political office and a judicial office. They understand the difference between the policymakers who throw pitches and the judges who call balls and strikes. And so I look forward to the Senate’s fair consideration of this most impressive nomination. I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh later this morning…To hearing his testimony in committee…And to voting on his nomination here on the Senate floor.”
Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Nominations, Supreme Court