Trump's extremist Supreme Court pick has an agenda, and he's not shy about it.
Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's extremist pick for the Supreme Court, is not like other nominees.
Nominees aren't supposed to have an agenda. Their personal opinions about issues, and particularly about prior court rulings, aren't supposed to matter.
That's why, during confirmation hearings, they routinely answer that they would of course uphold rulings that came before them because they are "settled law."
That, apparently, is not Kavanaugh's position. He has an agenda, and he has not tried to hide it.
Asked at an American Enterprise Institute event in March 2016 if he could think of a case that deserved to be overturned, Kavanaugh said: "Yes." Asked if he could specify a case, Kavanaugh first responded: "No," prompting laughter from the audience.
He then volunteered this: "Actually, I'm going to say one. Morrison v. Olson. It's been effectively overruled, but I would put the final nail in."
Kavanaugh had no way of knowing at the time that two years later, he would be nominated to the court, potentially ending up in a position to do exactly what he wanted. After all, at the time he gave the interview, Hillary Clinton was predicted as the likely winner of the election, and he certainly would not have expected his name to be on any short list of hers.
So he had no reason to be more cautious in answering the question, to refrain from publicly stating his desire to overturn a 30-year-old Supreme Court opinion — and maybe others as well.
But that's exactly what he did do.
The specific case Kavanaugh wants to overturn upheld the creation of independent counsels. The law has since expired — but Kavanaugh wants to kill it off for good anyway.
What replaced the expired law is the regulation of special counsels — like Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump, his inner circle, and his presidential campaign.
Does Kavanaugh think that should get a "nail" as well? And does that mean he's view Mueller's investigation as unconstitutional?
That alone is an alarming prospect, but there's more. If Kavanaugh is so eager to overturn this ruling, what other rulings does he want to overturn as well?
The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that access to safe, legal abortion is a constitutional right. Does he want to put the nail in that one too?
Last year, he denied access to an abortion for a a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant, a decision that was overturned by a higher court. Certainly that indicates the kinds of rulings he might issue if he is on the highest court in the land.
What about the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court has upheld twice? What about voting rights? Affirmative action? Marriage equality?
What other Supreme Court rulings in the last three decades — or perhaps longer — deserve a nail, in Kavanaugh's opinion?
There's a reason that the far-right Federalist Society vetted and approved of Kavanaugh for Trump's consideration. That conservative legal group has an agenda: to see Supreme Court rulings it doesn't like overturned.
They know Kavanaugh is their man, willing to overturn decades-old rulings that don't fit with his ideology. Now, thanks to Kavanaugh's own words, we know it too.
Published with permission of The American Independent.