Washington Insider Brett Kavanaugh Is Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

Kavanaugh once wrote that the president of the United States should not be subjected to legal challenges while in office.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

President Donald Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh is his pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court in an evening television address on Monday, July 9.

Kavanaugh currently serves on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He grew up in Maryland and attended Yale Law School. He clerked for Kennedy, the man he’s set to replace. After serving as George W. Bush’s White House counsel and staff secretary, Kavanaugh was nominated for the appellate court by Bush in 2006.

In his career, he also worked for lawyer Kenneth Starr and helped to write a report in the late 1990s that laid out 11 ways in which President Bill Clinton could be impeached. His expertise in impeachment — or defense from it — could come into play during Trump’s tenure.

And long before his career in politics, Kavanaugh had an unlikely connection to Trump’s other Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch.

Insider job

Kavanaugh is 53 years old, making it likely that he’ll serve as a reliably conservative justice for decades to come if his nomination is approved.

Instead of the activist conservative that many were expecting Trump to pick, Kavanaugh is a D.C. Republican insider.

He is known as the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” and has taken a typical path to the highest court in the land. Some conservatives are afraid that Kavanaugh is just not conservative enough, criticizing him for not declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and for his opinion that a pregnant teenager in immigration detention had a right to an abortion but not an immediate one.

Ironically, Kavanaugh might have too much experience for some Republican leaders.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is concerned about giving the Senate too much to sift through to the detriment of a speedy confirmation process, though he lauded the pick after Trump’s announcement. After all, Kavanaugh has written almost 300 opinions on the D.C. Circuit.

This doesn’t mean that Democrats will embrace Kavanaugh either. Democratic leaders are still upset over the GOP’s blocking of the nomination of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland.

Many Democratic senators have argued that a vote on the Supreme Court nominee shouldn’t take place before the midterm elections, hoping that they’ll gain the majority needed to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

However, some facing tough re-election bids in red states might break ranks to support Trump’s pick. Many red-state Democrats up for re-election are faced with a difficult choice: If they oppose the president, they may lose their seats. If they support the president, they may win their seats but lose respect from other Democrats.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are widely considered to be swing votes for a process that needs a 51-vote majority for confirmation.

Twitter wryly noticed both senators’ absence from the announcement.

Some Twitter users are urging them to oppose the nomination.

Big issues for the Supreme Court

The biggest fear many progressive Americans have is that the next Supreme Court nominee would repeal Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States.

In the past, Kavanaugh has said that he would follow Supreme Court precedent on abortion rights and refused to give an opinion Roe v. Wade — a sure disappointment for conservatives. But even if he doesn’t outright declare abortion unconstitutional, he could make rulings that fall just short of that outcome. Take his dissenting opinion in the case of the pregnant undocumented immigrant: He said that delaying her ability to get an abortion did not place an “undue burden” on her.

The Supreme Court is also set to hear cases on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and whether local cities can declare themselves sanctuary cities, which would make Kavanaugh a key decisionmaker on immigration issues. A U.S. district judge has ruled against two out of three Trump administration claims against California’s sanctuary state law; this issue is far from being settled.

The Supreme Court might also hear cases concerning LGBTQ rights, gun control, and voting rights. Progressives tend to be afraid that a conservative nominee would roll back those protections.

Kavanaugh has unprecedented power to turn back the clock.

In one of his more eyebrow-raising law articles, Kavanaugh once wrote that a president of the United States should not be subjected to legal challenges while in office because of how “difficult” it is to be commander-in-chief. For some, this raises his concern about how he would rule for the especially controversial investigations into the Trump administration.

Social media reacts

The Twitter reaction has been swift and passionate.

Both liberals and conservatives offered their opinions.

Maggie Haberman chose to get meta about the stage-managing of the announcement in the first place.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


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