Sunday, July 15, 2018

Nice Isn’t Enough

Brett Kavanaugh seems like a nice guy. That is the impression I got Monday evening listening to DJT’s flowery introduction of his new nominee for the Supreme Court and from Judge Kavanaugh’s own remarks.  
BK, as he is already being called, seems to be a good family man and the kind of neighbor you would like to have. A family friend wrote in the Washington Post (here) that “Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy.” Probably so.
Kavanaugh is also a civic-minded citizen and active Christian. He has tutored children at a D.C. elementary school, volunteered for charity groups, and is a regular participant in services at his Catholic church in Chevy Chase, Md., where he lives.
Being a nice guy, though, is not adequate reason for supporting Senate approval for his sitting on the high court. Please consider the following matters of serious concern.
(1) BK’s Position on Presidential Power
Perhaps the biggest problem with DJT’s pick of Kavanaugh is that, as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a press conference on Tuesday, the President “chose the candidate who he thought would best protect him from the Mueller investigation.”
While there may be some exaggerated statements regarding BK’s likely protection of DJT against indictment while in office (see this Fact Checker article), there is adequate reason to think that Schumer’s statement is basically correct.
It is also questionable whether any new nomination of a Supreme Court justice should be considered by the Senate as long as the President is under investigation with aspects of that investigation possibly being brought before the high court at some point.
(2) BK’s Position on Health Care and Women’s Reproductive Rights
In a statement following Kavanaugh’s nomination, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) declared, “He's demonstrated a hostility to the Affordable Care Act that the Trump administration is continually working to undermine.” (Remember, the ACA is a law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court to this point.)
At the same press conference mentioned above, Senator Schumer also said that Kavanaugh's selection would put healthcare protections in the ACA, such as protections for people with preexisting conditions, “at grave, grave risk.”
In addition, as the official blog of the Democratic Party says, “a vote for Kavanaugh would be a vote to . . .  deny women their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions.”
(3) BK’s Position on Church and State
On July 10, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), an organization I have supported for decades, publically declared that Kavanaugh is “the wrong choice for the Supreme Court.” That was because of their perception that BK was not committed to the concept of separation of church and state. They wrote (here),
The separation of church and state is the linchpin of religious freedom. We can’t afford to have a Supreme Court that would undermine it. By nominating Kavanaugh to the court, Trump threatens the vision of religious freedom for which Americans United has fought over the last 70 years. That’s why Americans United must oppose him.
On the same day, AU issued a five-page report (see here) on BK’s record and stated that he is a “threat to church-state separation and religious freedom.” 
For these, and other, reasons I insist that Brett Kavanaugh being a nice guy is by no means reason enough to support his appointment to the Supreme Court.
Many of you who live in States with one or both Senators possibly inclined to vote to approve Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court may likely want to contact those Senators and express your reservations about his suitability.
His being nice isn’t enough reason for approving him for the SCOTUS!


  1. Local Thinking Friend Temp Sparkman wrote,

    "You’ve stated significant reasons why Kavanaugh should not be confirmed for the court. So what can you or 'friends' do about it?"

    1. Thanks for reading and responding, Temp.

      Well, one small thing we in Missouri can do is to urge Sen. McCaskill to vote against confirmation, which I assume she will. But she knows that might cost her votes in November, so I don't know that her negative vote is certain.

      That is part of the bind, though, that Red-state Senators are in. Opposing Kavanaugh might jeopardize their re-election, so the Democrats might lose twice: lose in their attempt to stop Kavanaugh's approval and then fail to gain control of the Senate in November.

      Of course, even without the approval/disapproval of Kavanaugh being considered, I think it is quite likely that the Republicans will continue to have the majority in the Senate after the November elections. But I still think there is a good chance that the Democrats will gain control of the House.

      Of course, when the Mueller report is released in a month or two, that might decisively turn the country away from the Republicans.

  2. A while back I was surprised to hear Rick Perry offer MY Scotus solution, although, after I thought about the math for a minute, I realized it was the only way to go to regularize the court membership. The plan is to have staggered 18 year terms so a new justice would be appointed every two years. This would mean that every Presidential election would automatically involve two Supreme Court seats. If someone was unable to finish a term, then only the remainder of the term would be filled. Then elections really would have consequences, while today's system guarantees that dumb luck (and theft) have consequences. BK is most likely just one more thing we can do virtually nothing about.

    I read about a public policy research project where they studied what factors determined which policies were enacted by our government. The result was loud and clear, we live in a plutocracy. The will of the people means virtually nothing, while the will of the rich rules all. Sorry, no link, but I did find a similar article online, which has an eerie ring with its 2015 perspective:

  3. It was gratifying to receive the following email from a Thinking Friend in Arizona:

    "I did not know some of this information. I hope the Senate is as thorough in investigating his record as you are. I will probably use some of your information in my letters to our Senators.

    "Thanks for the information."

  4. Once again I appreciate my esteemed Thinking Friend Glenn Hinson's short, pertinent comments:

    "Well said, Leroy. It’s of interest to note that the 'conservatives' on the Supreme Court are all Roman Catholics, as Kavanaugh is.

    "Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism converge here in an interesting way."

    1. I found it interesting that the National Catholic Reporter yesterday had an article titled "President Trump shouldn't be nominating a Supreme Court justice." Here is the link to that article, which I think is correct in its assessment of the situation.

  5. Thinking Friend Andrew Bolton, who is now (once again) living in his native England and is a very active member of the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS), sent the following comments:

    "Good blog Leroy. This latest nominee is very worrying.

    "Thank you for your pithy summary of an important issue.

    "I like what the first Baptist, Thomas Helwys, said about religious liberty:

    "Men's religion to God is betwixt God and themselves; the king shall not answer for it, neither may the king be judge between God and man. Let them be heretics, Turks, Jews or whatsoever, it appertains not to the earthly powers to punish them in the least measure." ("Mistery of Iniquity," London, 1612, page iii)."

    1. Thanks, Andrew, for reading my article and for responding. I was impressed that you cited Helwys's views on separation of church and state. That has been the Baptist position through the last 400+ years--except for some Southern Baptists in the last 30 years who seem to have forgotten their Baptist roots and will likely support BK's nomination in spite of his position on church and state being highly questionable.

  6. And here are comments from faithful Thinking Friend Eric Dollard in Chicago:

    "Thanks, Leroy, for your comments about Judge Kavanaugh.

    "The irony in this is that Judge Kavanaugh, a decent man of integrity, has been nominated by a president who, in my opinion, is decidedly amoral.

    "But I agree with you about some of Judge Kavanaugh's opinions. Unfortunately, his confirmation hearing, instead of being a tutorial about judicial philosophy, will degenerate into political theater. I suspect that he will be confirmed."

  7. Brett Kavanaugh is definitely not a nice guy. If there were true justice in the country, he would not be on the bench, he would be in prison. See "Is the Fix in for Trump's Supreme Court Nominee?" and "Christpher Ruddy on Brett Kavanaugh"