Judge Brett Kavanaugh – the Next Supreme Court Justice?

BRETT M. KAVANAUGH

On July 9, 2018, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

What do we know about him?

  • Judge on the D.C. Circuit since 2006. Appointed by President George W. Bush
  • Associate Counsel, then Senior Associate Counsel to the President, then Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary, 2001-2006
  • Partner at Kirkland and Ellis, 1999-2001
  • Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel, 1994-97, 1998
  • Attorney in the office of the United States Solicitor General 1992-93
  • Clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, 1993-94
  • Clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski, 9th Circuit, 1991-92
  • Clerk for Judge Walker Stapleton, 3rd Circuit, 1990-91
  • Graduate of Yale University, 1987; Yale Law School, 1990
  • Part-time lecturer at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, and Georgetown Law Center

What makes Kavanaugh a good prospect for the Supreme Court?

  • Twelve years of outstanding work as a judge on the D.C. Circuit, widely considered to be the second highest court in the land and source of many previous Supreme Court Justices.
  • An originalist and textualist judicial philosophy. He does not believe – and his judicial record backs this up - in legislating from the bench. Here are Judge Kavanaugh's own words from his nomination speech:

"My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent."

  • What we know so far about his 12-year judicial record appears to back up his White House nomination speech. On issues of religious freedom and life and free speech, among others, his court opinions and dissents portray a judge who deeply values our God-given rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
  • Kavanaugh considers the late Justice Antonin Scalia to be a "hero and a role model."

What are prominent voices saying about this nominee?

President Donald Trump – "Judge Kavanaugh is a brilliant jurist with impeccable legal credentials and a clear, effective writing style. He is universally respected for his intellect, persuasiveness, and ability to build consensus. He understands that the role of a judge is to faithfully interpret the law, not to legislate from the bench. His authoritative legal opinions are known to shape the law and are often cited by judges around the country."

Vice President Mike Pence – "As Judge Kavanaugh has said and written, the judge's job is to interpret the law, not make the law or make policy. And when you look at his record […] what you see is a consistent and principled conservative jurist […] who will make a great justice on the Supreme Court."

Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family – "Most notably for these times marked by political and cultural divisions, Judge Kavanaugh has the reputation of being fair-minded and able to work with his fellow judges who might have a different point of view. His temperament is well-suited for the demands of our nation's highest court." (Entire statement)

Edwin Meese – former Attorney General of the United States - "Judge Kavanaugh is an originalist who is faithful to the Constitution."

Related Resource

Focus President Jim Daly on the Nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

6 Common Questions About Judicial Nominations

Who are our Supreme Court Justices?

© 2018 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

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