Donald Trump used the bully pulpit of the presidency to recently announce his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on prime time TV. Initially when it happened, I viewed it as another example of Trump manipulating the media once again because Supreme Court nominations typically occur during the daytime on the West Lawn or Rose Garden of the White House. But those thoughts of disbelief quickly gave way to reminding myself that celebrity TV helped create this monster and that there is nothing normal or traditional about Donald Trump. The man is wired differently. His inner engine seeks to produce pain, suffering and disunity. In that light, it made perfect sense that Trump would maximize attention to feature Kavanaugh, a far-right judge, who in many ways, is a judicial extension of himself.
Let’s be clear about who Brett Kavanaugh is and what he represents. Kavanaugh is a Republican lawyer who advanced his career as a reliable political hack due to his involvement in two of the most egregiously partisan decisions in modern history. Kavanaugh was a top aide to George W. Bush when he and his legal team sought to undermine and end the Florida recount by taking their undemocratic case to the Supreme Court through Bush v. Gore. The Republican led Supreme Court voted to stop the recount and brought us one of the worst presidencies in American history.
Kavanaugh was also part of the legal team of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, which was spearheaded by a Republican controlled Congress determined to humiliate former President Bill Clinton with multiple investigations, one of which led to the discovery and political exploitation of Clinton’s poor decision of having an extramarital affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Kavanaugh put his legal stamp on a Kenneth Starr recommendation that led to a disgraceful abuse of power by the Republican House of Representatives with their majority vote to impeach President Clinton. Ultimately, the United States Senate voted against impeachment and Bill Clinton won re-election in 1996.
Kavanaugh was on the wrong side of history in both these instances. But it revealed a part of his character and ambition and strengthened his resolve to use politics as an avenue to wield a certain kind of legal power that benefits white conservative males within the American landscape.
And this gets to the heart as to why Brett Kavanaugh is so dangerous as a jurist and as a possible Supreme Court justice. Kavanaugh’s legal career is a hodgepodge of decisions that show he’s a staunch defender of what I call the “white conservative male power complex.” Basically, it’s decisions that reinforce white male conservative power to control, stymie or limit progress that does not benefit themselves the most. This cuts across institutions and structures - from the media, finance, criminal justice, business, and law. Kavanaugh’s judicial and moral philosophy, writings and opinions reflect a man who fits this description perfectly.
Kavanaugh has expressed support in his desire to eradicate legal abortion and to see Roe. v. Wade overturned. Kavanaugh has expressed support for racialized voter suppression and past legal briefs suggest he'll likely end Affirmative Action. The preeminent civil rights organization, the NAACP wrote a blistering statement against his nomination and starkly warned Americans that Kavanaugh’s 12 years as a D.C. Court of Appeals Judge reflect his allegiance towards the wealthy and powerful and has consistently ruled against civil rights, worker’s rights, consumer rights and women’s rights.
Legal experts that have reviewed Kavanaugh’s legal writings suggest he will continue to be a strong supporter of the horrible Citizens v. United decision, which allows rich Americans to use their wealth to disproportionately influence politicians and elections. Kavanaugh’s corporate power leanings and anti-union decisions have sparked presidents from two of the most powerful unions in America, the United Steelworkers and AFl-CIO to forcefully come out against his placement on the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh’s past opinions on executive power is particularly alarming. He’s questioned the release of the Richard Nixon tapes (yep, really) that lead to his presidential resignation, and has opined that presidencies should be shielded from criminal investigations and civil lawsuits while in office. These disturbing views are relevant given the fact that we have an active investigation into the corrupt, treasonous, mafia presidency of Donald Trump.
As a lawyer and judge, Brett Kavanaugh has spent his adult life reaffirming his commitment to a white conservative male power worldview. Men like Brett Kavanaugh and his Federalist Society comrades see the Constitution as an evolutionary referendum on their power -which explains their adherence to an originalist interpretation. The multitude of amendments and progressive decisions to humanize and broaden the document is seen as a threat to their status and identity.
It’s fitting that Kavanaugh’s nomination came from Donald Trump. Kavanaugh is on the cusp of fulfilling a probable life-long dream because he’s a firm believer in protecting men like Donald Trump. Also, both men share union in their desire to disempower people that don’t look like them. The record is clear, long and leaves no doubt that Brett Kavanaugh is an enemy to the very idea of a multiracial, progressive democracy.
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