On July 9th, 2018, President Trump announced his nomination for the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had earlier announced that he would retire by the end of July. The man Trump selected is Brett Kavanaugh, a graduate of Yale University and the current federal judge on the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals. While Kavanaugh is currently the subject of many political controversies, including his rumored support for President Nixon’s coverup of the Watergate scandal, it is still likely that he will become a Supreme Court Justice. This is because the Democrats are currently a minority in the US Senate, which is in charge of confirming Supreme Court nominees. Therefore, it would be helpful to get to know our likely-next member of the United States Supreme courts, particularly where he stands on a couple of hot-button political issues.
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Kavanaugh is an avowed conservative when it comes to gun laws in America. While deciding the court case Heller II (a sequel to the landmark court case District of Columbia v. Heller, which deemed a law banning handguns in DC to be unconstitutional), Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion saying that semiautomatic rifle and handgun bans are unconstitutional on “historical and traditional grounds.”
Abortion and the right to contraception
Despite a panicked frenzy from Democrats, Kavanaugh does not seem actively against the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. During his confirmation hearings before the Senate, Kavanaugh called Roe v. Wade “settled law” with strong “precedent on precedent” support, so it seems that he may not work to overturn abortion rights for women if he joins the Supreme Court. However, Kavanaugh has not actually expressed active support for Roe v. Wade, and there is always a possibility that he is only implying his support for Roe v. Wade in order to get confirmed. Regardless of his stance on abortion, Kavanaugh appears to be far more conservative when it comes to the issue of whether or not women should use birth control. He has also sided in a court case with plaintiffs calling birth control pills “abortion-inducing” drugs, a sentiment which is not only untrue, but also very anti-choice. This calls his ambivalence towards Roe v. Wade into question.
Overall, Kavanaugh can be classified as a devout Republican member of the judiciary who will almost always vote on legal decisions conservatively, regardless of what he happens to say beforehand.
Tuhin Chakraborty is an 18 year old freshman at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. He is considering studying History and Political Science there. His favorite book is Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert. Tuhin believes that success is gaining the respect of everyone who knows you. He steps up for Civic Engagement: getting young people involved in politics and community action.