If one were to create an ideal résumé for the position of Supreme Court justice, it would not look terribly different from Brett Michael Kavanaugh’s curriculum vitae. President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy is more than qualified for the job. The 53-year-old Yale Law School graduate has spent more than a decade on the U.S. Court of Appeals. He held top posts in President George W. Bush’s administration and is a former law clerk to retiring Justice Kennedy. He has taught at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown law schools.
Kavanaugh has written more than 300 opinions and sent 41 of his own law clerks to fill positions at the high court. “There is no one in America more qualified for this position,” said President Trump as he introduced the judge and his family to a packed East Room at the White House.
Speaking after Trump’s introduction, Kavanaugh said, “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. For the past 11 years, I’ve taught hundreds of students, primarily at Harvard Law School. I teach that the Constitution’s separation of powers protects individual liberty, and I remain grateful to the dean who hired me, Justice Elena Kagan.”
Indeed, Kavanaugh’s qualifications are impeccable — unfortunately, that won’t stop him from being lambasted by opposition on the left concerned about his conservative values.
Virginia’s two Democratic senators have issued statements expressing their concerns. Both Tim Kaine and Mark Warner say they are worried about whether Kavanaugh will respect prior Supreme Court rulings that have upheld the Affordable Care Act, women’s reproductive freedom, and civil rights issues.
Kavanaugh began meeting with Senate members yesterday. Monday night, he said that he would tell each senator “that I revere the Constitution. I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case, and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.”
Brett Kavanaugh is a good and decent man who promises to uphold the rule of law rather than attempting to legislate from the bench. We applaud the president’s choice.