Judge Brett Kavanaugh is President Donald Trump’s SCOTUS Pick


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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53 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    1. I was right. The nominee was going to be someone with HYS law school bona fides. This might be the one thing that parties agree upon in terms of Supreme Court nominees, very narrow but elite educational credentials once the candidate gets to college and law school. I don’t know if it is a product of polarization or not but for the foreseeable future every Supreme Court nominee will go to HYS for law school, be law review, have top clerkships, and then stint in big law or work the more prestigious government law jobs.

    2. He is a solid conservative without being objectively whacky about things. He will move the court to the right but maybe not as far as a Thomas type conservative would. As far as I know he hasn’t done any weird speculating that gives up the gig on federalism and/or muses about how a real originalist will abolish paper money.

    3. I’d guess that the confirmation process is tough questioning but he gets confirmed. Some red-state Democrats will probably vote to confirm.

    4. There is a miracle way he doesn’t get confirmed if Schumer can convince all the Democratic Senators to vote no and also pick off Susan Collins and Lisa Murakowski and then the Democrats get a narrow hold on the Senate in November.

    5. # 4 is a miracle.Report

    • Manchin will be a yes. So barring something cataclysmic he will go through with a vote to spare or so regardless, I suspect.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      5. # 4 is a miracle.

      Multiple miracles.

      For starters, Trump doesn’t like losing and he doesn’t mind firing people.

      Schumer (or crew) finds something really nasty in this guy’s background and manages to trainwreck him. He smoked pot might do it.

      Trump drops him, picks someone else, and he still has enough time to do the whole thing all over again.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        He smoked pot might do it.

        While Trump is certainly the President most likely to have learned nothing from the Bork hearings and their aftereffects, I imagine that the people who gave him his list of judges remember the sting of Doug Ginsburg well.

        That said, it ain’t 1987 anymore.

        I’m not sure that it would torpedo him at this point. I mean, assuming he didn’t smoke it with his students or something.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          I’m sure Trump ( or at least his smart lawyers which excludes Rudy) wants a Bork clone for Solicitor General.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            So they probably did a background check to make sure he’s not a Doug Ginsburg clone.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine says:

              I actually doubt smoking pot would move the needle anymore.

              Sometimes the cultural wars you win don’t help you anymore.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Someone call Nina Totenberg and ask her if she’d want pictures of Kavanaugh smoking pot if you happened to have some.

                Tell us what she says!Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:


                Vote to confirm him, still 51-49.

                Maybe the drug you are looking for is heroin? Could you ask Ms. Totenberg if she would prefer heroin to pot?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I still think that news media coverage could move a needle juuust enough to turn that into 50/50 and make Pence have to get off his butt to go down to the Senate to break the tie.

                Which *MIGHT* be a bridge too far, given the other 24 names on the list. One of them might make NPR have to breathlessly report on whether they go to church or have too many children and try to get people upset over that rather than a whether a justice enjoyed a touch of the medicinal from time to time back when televisions were still CRTs.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                If the goal is to sink Kavanaugh qua Kavanaugh *and* there were 18+ months to the next election… then sure, maybe pick #2 would be called up.

                There’s no do-over here, so no needle to move… you can only blow-up the what-ever-it-is-we-call-the-thing-that-holds-the-needle.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                If NPR would run the story padded with inner-city incarceration statistics, it wouldn’t count because it would be a decrimnalization story.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          I don’t think drug use will do it unless it’s ongoing.

          If he has any sort of real history of sexual impropriety that could damage him. Anything #MeToo-ish and he’s probably hosed.

          (Clarence Thomas would not be confirmed today.)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Eh, if Al Franken was still one of the senators in charge of grilling him, he *MIGHT* be able to leak through.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              Funny how that shakes out, huh?

              And I have no reason to believe whatsoever to believe that Kavanaugh is a creep, but given the rates of turnover in the Trump WH, and the careful vetting they do of nominees, it’s going to wind up mattering, and probably sooner rather than later.Report

      • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

        Your last – if he disagrees pubically with some Trump policy or makes a statement on a hot button (for Trump) – for example, saying that Sessions did the right think to recuse himself – then It would not shock me.

        One get’s the sense that Trump loves playing this game – it feels like solid winning to him. He’d love to keep it going a few months to the midterm.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      What’s this Stanford nonsense? Is that like a GED school or something?Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      A further problem is that the Democrats wouldn’t acutally get that hold until January.

      Which means that McConnell would get another crack at confirming someone, knowing the result and the resulting stakes of doing so before January.

      Think he wouldn’t do something that so flies in the face of voters’ stated demands? Yes, he would.Report

  2. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    Does he have any children? Asking for a friend.Report

  3. Avatar Stillwater says:

    I haven’t followed it too closely but I think this is a solid conservative pick. During his ’06 confirmation he explicitly said RvW is established precedent (like that means anything) so Collins and Murk should be on board. And that should do it. He’s in. The more interesting question going forward is how badly the Dems bloody themselves trying to fight/obstruct his confirmation.

    Add: Well, *some* Dems anyway. Others will vote for him.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      Somewhere in a well heeled living room, JEB! is stomping around (in socks, I imagine) shouting (well, speaking in an elevated tone), “Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were *my* picks too.”

      I’m a little meh about Kavanaugh, but I must confess that I’m way behind on my fantasy SCOTUS team reasearch, so who am I to judge.

      I’ll admit that while I’m sure I have some friends/connections with Barrett (I was afeared to ask), I’m a little relieved that our tiny counter-culture wasn’t exposed to the full wrath of replacing Kennedy. Maybe she can replace Thomas.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    From a Democratic standpoint, the least objectionable of a lot of bad options.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Preempting anyone else from posting this “Yale praises their own” essay:


    I’m with Lee. A better title would be “This is the best we can hope for. Get used to it.”Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I looked it up. He’s Catholic.

    (But the Wikipedia says “citation needed” so maybe he’s Protestant?)Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If you’ve been wondering “where is the Stop Kavanaugh website? I need to donate to it!”, here you go.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I just saw a story on Buzzfeed that indicated to me that, yeah, he’s getting past the Senate.

    From Brett Kavanaugh Will Mean Challenging Times For Environmental Laws:

    “He is pretty consistently anti-environment on every front,” Center for Biological Diversity senior counsel Bill Snape, a law professor at American University, told BuzzFeed News. “I call him Lord Voldemort,” said Professor Snape.


    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      Snape would know, but how can we trust someone from the House of Slytherin?Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        Obviously Bill is a muggle from the cadet branch of the family, else he’d have a proper Snape name, like Ulixes, Quintus or Proculus.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      Though I don’t believe much in that link, it’s probably environmental issues that swing most significantly by going from Kennedy to Kavanaugh. Some of it is the unstable nature of Kennedy’s swing votes on air and wetlands decisions. But mostly it’s because further environmental regulation depended upon agencies removed from public view, being given flexibility by the Courts in utilizing Nixon-era laws to new situations. Kavanaugh has opined against the EPA from both the left and the right when he thought the EPA wasn’t following the legislative mandate.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Okay, real talk:

    Kavanaugh is one of the people who was grown in a vat in order to someday be on the Supreme Court.

    And, wouldn’t you know it, 40ish/50ish years later all of that cultivation has resulted in the perfect nominee.

    Dude reminds me of Kagan.Report

    • Kagan hired him to teach at Harvard Law when she was still the Dean there. Him and Gorsuch go way back. Kennedy loves the guy. You’re point of him almost being designed for the court is accurate, because it is true in many respects.Report

  10. Avatar North says:

    He’s gonna be confirmed. I doubt the Dems are gonna do themselves much self harm opposing him simply because there’s not much they can do to oppose him. Unless they find something on him (Saying he’s gonna ax RvW for instance) Collins will toe the line. The red state Dems will potentially toss in some votes (they’ll gauge the over/under on that individually). Frankly I half suspect just grillin him hard then moving on without much further fuss probably is their best bet.Report