President Donald Trump’s nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court has been met with a variety of reactions.
Some conservatives have critiqued Trump’s Supreme Court pick while others have defended Kavanaugh from such opposition.
For those who are still hesitant to support or oppose Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, it might be wise to read what Kavanaugh had to say about former Justice Antonin Scalia.
Scalia was a well-known and respected Supreme Court justice with a simple approach to his duties as one of the nation’s highest judges. He felt the Constitution should be interpreted based on its original meaning.
During his time on the Court, Scalia was a staunch defender of the separation of powers and the freedom of religion. “His most notable contribution is the often-vilified opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, upending decades of the Court’s free exercise jurisprudence in favor of having legislatures rather than courts weigh the interests of the government against accommodations to religious believers,” The Heritage Foundation reported.
He also dissented the constitutional right to same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“If I ever joined an opinion that began ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag,” Scalia wrote.
The National Review published an excerpt from his speech, which reflects Kavanaugh’s respect for the former justice.
“To me, Justice Scalia was and remains a hero and a role model,” Kavanaugh said. “He thought carefully about his principles, he articulated those principles, and he stood up for those principles. As a judge, he did not buckle to political or academic pressure from the right or the left.”
Kavanaugh went on to say that Scalia “loved his wife and family” and was “a man of faith” and “a man for others.”
“What did Justice Scalia stand for as a judge? It’s not complicated, but it is profound and worth repeating often,” he continued. “The judge’s job is to interpret the law, not to make the law or make policy. So read the words of the statute as written. Read the text of the Constitution as written, mindful of history and tradition.”
“Don’t make up new constitutional rights that are not in the text of the Constitution. Don’t shy away from enforcing constitutional rights that are in the text of the Constitution. Changing the Constitution is for the amendment process.”
Kavanaugh goes on to say that changing the constitution is a different process in its entirety and should be left to the legislative branch of government.
“And remember that courts have a critical role, when a party has standing, in enforcing those separation of powers and federalism limits. Simple but profound,” Kavanaugh said.
If Kavanaugh is confirmed and follows Scalia’s model of interpreting the law as it is written, he might be a good fit for the Supreme Court.
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