July 10, 2018
By now, Americans have all learned a thing or two about Brett Kavanaugh, the man who will almost certainly replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. They know he's a dad, that he coaches his girls' Catholic basketball team and serves food to the homeless. They've heard about his 12 years of circuit court experience, his longtime reputation as an originalist, and that he clerked for the man he's replacing. But what may be the most persuasive thing about Judge Kavanaugh is the confidence conservatives have in the president who nominated him.
For the second time in as many tries, President Trump followed through on his promise to select a nominee from the Supreme Court list he made public during the campaign. He assured Americans who cared about the issue that he'd select an originalist -- someone who would call balls and strikes according to the Constitution. And, based on the more than 40 federal, circuit, and Supreme Court nominees we've seen confirmed, that's exactly what America will get.
Like a lot of conservatives, we had our favorites from that list. But everyone it included was solid, thanks to a group of serious constitutionalists who reviewed the candidates beforehand. As President Trump said at his primetime reveal, "What matters is not a judge's political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require." Brett Kavanaugh did his best to reassure the country that he was such a person, saying, "My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law."
Anyone who doubts Kavanaugh's bona fides should keep in mind: this president has an exceptional track record on the judiciary. We've watched this White House restore balance and boundaries to benches across the country at a pace no other president has matched. And unlike his predecessor, those record-setting confirmations continue to be of men and women whose loyalty is to the plain text of the Constitution. Our hope and prayer is that Brett Kavanaugh proves himself to be of their same mold. For the time being, we have to trust President Trump's judgment -- a benefit of the doubt that, based on his previous nominees, he's earned.
Of course, Democrats (the same ones who helped confirm Kavanaugh the first time) are in no mood to be persuaded. Before they even knew who the nominee was, liberals despised what he represented: a return to the judicial restraint the courts so desperately need. The Washington Examiner's Phillip Wegmann joked about the Left's pre-fab opposition yesterday, pointing out that it won't matter who the president nominates at the press conference. "[E]very Democrat will curse the news because they hate the nominee already -- whoever it is."
Case in point, the zealots at the Women's March issued a press release last night slamming Trump's pick -- whose name they forgot to add! Instead, the statement went out with "XX" where the word "Kavanaugh" should have been, proving that they would have repeated the same garbage no matter who was nominated. The liberal group Democracy for America sent out another embarrassing statement with fill-in-the-blank opposition, assuring people that "DFA will fight Kavanaugh," because "she represents a generational assault on justice, freedom, core democratic values."
At least Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) got Kavanaugh's name right when he promised to fight him "with everything I have." Then, with the usual double standard, he demanded that Brett answer questions on abortion that he himself once said you shouldn't ask. "There is a grand tradition that I support that you can't ask a judge who's nominated for a -- or a potential judge who is nominated -- for a judgeship about a specific case that might come before them." Apparently, that "grand tradition" has fallen by the wayside now that President Trump is doing the nominating.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was busily trying to raise money off the Kavanaugh announcement, vowing to "avenge President Obama" on SCOTUS "if it's the last thing I do." (Maybe someone ought to tell Nancy that avenging Obama will be difficult since the House doesn't vote on the nominee.) Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe continued the barrage, tweeting, "The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come and will morph our Supreme Court into a political arm of the right-wing Republican Party."
Over at the Supreme Court steps, the protests became so violent that Fox News's Shannon Bream (who I joined later that night to talk about the pick), had to pack up and head to the studio. "Very few times I've felt threatened while out in the field," she posted. "The mood here tonight is very volatile. Law enforcement appears to be closing down 1st Street in front of SCOTUS. Literally had to bail on our live show from #SCOTUS. Moving the show back to the safety of the studio. See y'all at 11pm."
If the Left's hysteria is any indication, Brett Kavanaugh will do his part to fulfill this president's vision of reining in the judiciary and restoring constitutional order. We look forward to working with the Senate and the grassroots for his confirmation. For more on the debate, don't miss my interview last night on Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.