Judiciary

Americans Split on Kavanaugh Nomination

A new Pew Research poll finds 41% think the U.S. Senate should confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, while 36% say they should not and 23% do not offer a view on the question.

“Opinions of his nomination are already deeply polarized: 73% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think he should be confirmed. By contrast, 63% of Democrats and Democratic leaners  say the Senate should not confirm him.”

Anonymous Donors to Influence Supreme Court Fight

“Millions of dollars from anonymous donors are helping shape the fight over President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee as Republicans and Democrats undertake a bruising battle for ideological control of the nation’s loftiest tribunal,” the AP reports.

“The anonymity is made possible by federal rules that permit groups structured as tax-exempt social welfare organizations to shield the identities of their benefactors. The upshot is that deep-pocketed donors may wield significant influence without ever revealing who they are, unless they choose to.”

Big Majority Want Roe v. Wade to Stand

A new Gallup poll finds that 64% of Americans believe the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion should stand, while 28% would like to see it overturned.

“Partisans’ opinions are sharply polarized, with 81% of Democrats, 70% of independents and 41% of Republicans saying they do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. In contrast, 51% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 13% of Democrats want it reversed.”

Kavanaugh Ran Up Debt Buying Baseball Tickets

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “incurred tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt buying baseball tickets over the past decade and at times reported liabilities that could have exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets,” the Washington Post reports.

The White House said Kavanaugh “built up the debt by buying Washington Nationals season tickets and tickets for playoff games for himself and a ‘handful’ of friends.”

“Kavanaugh’s most recent financial disclosure forms reveal assets between $15,000 and $65,000, which would put him at the bottom of the financial ranking of justices, most of whom list well over $1 million in assets.”

Manchin Sounds Like a ‘Yes’

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is up for re-election this year, told Talkline radio that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “has all the right qualities” of a Justice and that he will defer to his constituents when casting his vote.

Said Manchin: “I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards. A family person who’s very involved in his community. Has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed.”

Rosenstein Asks Prosecutors to Help with Kavanaugh

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “has asked federal prosecutors to help review the government documents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Rosenstein’s request was an unusual insertion of politics into federal law enforcement. While the Justice Department has helped work on previous Supreme Court nominations, department lawyers in Washington typically carry out that task, not prosecutors who pursue criminal investigations nationwide.”

White House Plays Up Kavanaugh to Business Groups

“The White House on Monday immediately played up Brett Kavanaugh’s pro-business, anti-regulation record and is asking industry trade groups for help pushing his confirmation through the Senate… In the one-page document, which was obtained by Politico, the White House wrote that Kavanaugh has overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections, net neutrality and other issues.”

Kavanaugh Actually Supports Special Counsel Authority

Benjamin Wittes: “If Kavanaugh’s writings on special counsel investigations really influenced Trump’s decision to nominate him, then Trump is a bigger fool than I have imagined. Kavanaugh’s writings on the subject don’t clarify all of his views on the subject of the Mueller investigation. But they clarify certain big things, and those things are really not good for Donald Trump.”

“Noah Feldman writes that ‘Properly understood, Kavanaugh’s expressed views actually support the opposite conclusion’ than the one to which many knees are jerking. Feldman is exactly right. In some respects, he actually understates the case.”

Kavanaugh Could Usher In Business-Friendly Court

“Brett Kavanaugh could add a powerful new voice on the Supreme Court to restrain what government agencies can do, ushering in a new era of tougher scrutiny of federal regulations loathed by businesses,” Bloomberg reports.

“In a dozen years on the U.S. appeals court that handles most challenges to rules issued by federal bureaucrats, the Supreme Court nominee’s record reveals views closely aligned with conservatives who seek to rein in agencies on issues from climate change to net neutrality and financial oversight.”

Does Kavanaugh Think Presidents Are Above the Law?

Greg Sargent: “It is unlikely that Democrats will be able to block Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy, from taking a seat on the Supreme Court. But they can do all they can to clarify the stakes in this battle, to illustrate in advance of the midterm elections what GOP control of the White House and Congress really means for the country over the long term.”

“Here’s one important area in which they can do that: They must press Kavanaugh to clarify his thinking on the question of whether presidents are above the law, or more specifically, how much power presidents have with regard to investigations into themselves.”

Flashback Quote of the Day

“Having seen first-hand how complex and difficult that job is, I believe it vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible. The country wants the President to be ‘one of us’ who bears the same responsibilities of citizenship that all share. But I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office.”

— Brett Kavanaugh, writing in the Minnesota Law Review  in 2008.

Kavanaugh Has a Long Paper Trail

Politico: “Kavanaugh’s paperwork predicament — stemming from two years he spent in President George W. Bush’s White House Counsel’s office and just over three as Bush’s staff secretary—is not completely unique.”

“But the quantity of files potentially at issue in Kavanaugh’s case could be unprecedented. Former officials believe millions of pages of emails and other documents circulated through Kavanaugh’s office during his time as staff secretary. If Senate Democrats insist on receiving every page, the confirmation process could grind to a crawl.”