This evening, President Donald Trump announced that he has chosen Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next nominee for the Supreme Court, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his upcoming retirement last week. Kennedy was considered a swing vote. As Live Action President and founder Lila Rose noted in a statement:
Justice Kennedy’s opinions in subsequent abortion cases showed that he supported Roe while neglecting to affirm the most basic human right of life. An opportunity to appoint a new justice to the court may mean restored constitutional protections for all human beings, born and unborn.
Kavanaugh, a President George W. Bush appointee, currently serves on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and is considered a constitutional originalist. He graduated from Yale Law School and is a self-professed Catholic who once clerked for Justice Kennedy. He lectures at Harvard Law School.
In a press release from the White House issued this morning, hours prior to the announcement, President Trump stated:
In choosing Justice Kennedy’s replacement, my greatest responsibility is to select a Justice who will faithfully interpret the Constitution as written. Judges are not supposed to re-write the law, re-invent the Constitution, or substitute their own opinions for the will of the people expressed through their laws. We reject judicial activism and policy-making from the bench. The faithful application of the Constitution is the bedrock of our freedom, the foundation of our society, and the linchpin of our government. The American System tasks Congress with writing the laws, the executive with enforcing the laws, and the judiciary with issuing neutral judgements based upon those laws and the Constitution we have sworn to protect.
President Trump stated in his televised announcement that Kavanaugh deserves a “swift confirmation and robust bipartisan support,” though, as noted by Live Action News’ Nancy Flanders, “conservatives have mixed feelings” about him. Kavanaugh has a history of siding with citizens on conscience rights, as in the case of Priests for Life v. HHS, and a history of siding with the protection of life, as in the case of Garza v. Hargan, in which he said the government had “permissible interests in favoring fetal life” and “refraining from facilitating abortion.”
Kavanaugh stated after the president’s announcement:
The framers established that the Constitution was designed to secure the blessings of liberty. Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty. I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court…. A judge must be independent and interpret the law, not make the law… A judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history, tradition, and precedent.
The question of Roe v. Wade seems up in the air, as Kavanaugh co-authored “The Law of Judicial Precedent,” which stressed the role and importance of stare decisis – something often stressed by lawmakers who support the decision in Roe. But, as Live Action News’ Kristi Burton Brown recently emphasized:
When, often decades later, the Court sees its own discrimination in the light of modern facts, modern science, and an appropriate argument for equal rights, it rejects stare decisis in the name of original intent. The Fourteenth Amendment has always been intended to be a bridge between the vulnerable members of society and the rights guaranteed to them merely by virtue of being human. When an arm of government breaks down that bridge, it is the job of the U.S. Supreme Court to build it up again.
Whether or not the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh remains to be seen, but with Roe potentially at stake, even one or two defectors on either side of the aisle could be the deciding factor.
Kavanaugh’s decisions have reportedly been endorsed by the Supreme Court more than a dozen times. Considered to be a “judge’s judge,” and “mainstream,” Kavanaugh’s 100 most-cited opinions have been cited by more than 210 judges.
During the announcement, Kavanaugh spoke highly and emotionally of his wife, Ashley, who served as as President Bush’s personal secretary during the days up to and following the September 11, 2001 attacks on our nation’s soil. He also spoke lovingly of his two young daughters.
The announcement of Kavanaugh as the nominee was received warmly, with those present giving him a standing ovation.
Live Action president and founder Lila Rose stated in response to the announcement:
We encourage Brett Kavanaugh to uphold the Constitution and support the most basic human right — the right to life — for all people. While the Supreme Court will hear many cases, we look forward to the day when our nation’s highest court acknowledges the great injustice of abortion and finally upholds the right to life for all humans, born and unborn. We hope that with Brett Kavanaugh, the court ensures that our very first right, the right to life, will be protected by our laws rather than trampled by them. The right to life is the foundation for all other human rights – without it, no other rights can be enjoyed.
Our laws must reflect reality: Science has proven that a human being – with her own complete and unique set of DNA – is formed at the moment of fertilization. Human rights are grounded in being human—not in a person’s age, level of development, or location.