|| by Will Galloway ||
Columbia – Following weeks of speculation, President Donald Trump appointed D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court. While Kennedy was not the first choice of many Conservatives – many of whom had been holding out hope for Amy Barrett – but he would almost certainly move the court in a more originalist and textualist direction.
Kavanaugh has a strong legal pedigree, with a degree from Yale school of law and a stint as a clerk for Justice Kennedy. He also served as a White House lawyer for President George Bush, who nominated him to the DC Circuit in 2006.
Compared to the others on Trump’s shortlist (Barrett, Tom Hardiman, and Raymond Ketheledge), Kavanaugh has a very long paper trail from the federal bench. He’s written over 300 opinions, and has an even longer record of legal writings and public appearances.
Virtually everything in this record suggests that Kavanaugh will be a solid, originalist vote on the Supreme Court, even if he is less forceful or vociferous than Barrett (one could compare Kavanaugh to Clarence Thomas, where Barrett would be more of an Antonin Scalia).
Kavanaugh dissented when the DC Circuit voted to uphold Obamacare, and he’s taken a fairly broad view of executive privilege. When it comes to abortion, Kavanaugh has been bound by stare decisis on Roe v. Wade as a circuit court judge, but has ruled in favor of certain restrictions on abortion.
So, while Kavanaugh may not be the rockstar choice many conservatives were hoping for, we can rest confident that he will be a solid originalist on the court.