Make no mistake about it: the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is bad news. But the bad news arrived on Election Day 2016, not yesterday. Kavanaugh was inevitable.
I have been downplaying the fear and anguish that some on the left are going through. Quite often, I’ve been hearing and reading things like this:
Kavanaugh has argued that presidents should not be distracted by civil lawsuits, criminal investigations, or even questions from a prosecutor or defense attorney while in office, Michael Kranish and Ann E. Marimow report. “Having observed the weighty issues that can consume a president, Kavanaugh wrote, the nation’s chief executive should be exempt from ‘time-consuming and distracting’ lawsuits and investigations, which ‘would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.’ If a president were truly malevolent, Kavanaugh wrote, he could always be impeached.”
Yes, Kavanaugh wrote that…. in 2008. And he wasn’t taking a LEGAL position, but a political one. Yet, some seem to think he is Trump’s ace in the hole for the Mueller investigation. Trump himself may think that.
Kavanaugh has a conservative philosophy. He is pro-business. He is a staunch defender of executive prerogative. For progressives, this is clearly a setback.
But none of his views are outside the mainstream, like Trump is. He is, like most educated conservatives, probably a Never Trumper. And there is no indication that his political philosophy will override his judicial philosophy — should the two ever conflict.
Will he become a David Souter, who sided with liberals on the court? Very, very unlikely. Will he become a swing justice, like Kennedy (for whom he clerked and whose recommendation may have won the day with Trump)? Also unlikely, but still possible.
I don’t think he is as bad as Scalia. Or Gorsuch. Or even Thomas.
And yeah, the Supreme Court is going to be terrible for the rest of my life, I expect.
But that just means we progressives have to fight harder. In Congress. For the White House. And locally.