With Judge Brett Kavanaugh as SCOTUS Nominee, 22 Leaders in Faith and Politics React
Many hoped the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice would halt infighting and bring unity. Despite the jurist earning high praise, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been met with resistance — and not only from the Left.
In a dramatic prime time event Monday night, President Donald Trump announced appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh as his second nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. He follows in the footsteps of now-Justice Neil Gorsuch, a key voice on the Supreme Court since his confirmation in April 2017.
Kavanaugh clerked for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, then later served as a staff secretary for President George W. Bush. In 2006, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit where he has served since. Kavanaugh has also been praised as a family man; the father of two young girls even coaches their basketball teams.
The eminently qualified jurist has nonetheless been greeted with mixed reactions. Hostility from the left was expected. Yet questions from other corners are more complex, surely to be pondered during the confirmation process ahead.
Ed Whelan, President of Ethics and Public Policy Center:
No matter who the nominee is, I’m really looking forward to an end to the infighting and to unifying against the attacks from the Left.
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) July 9, 2018
President Trump: "Tonight, it is my honor and privilege to announce that I will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court."
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 10, 2018
WATCH: Complete remarks from Judge Brett Kavanaugh:
"If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American Rule of Law."#SCOTUSPick #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/vKVTv02eoh
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 10, 2018
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia:
Just met #SCOTUS nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh while I was at the @WhiteHouse tonight for @POTUS’ announcement. The president made an excellent choice, and I look forward to moving forward with the confirmation process. My full statement: https://t.co/UPH47CmbL7 pic.twitter.com/TnlqRJaC19
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) July 10, 2018
Broad Coalition of Support
Some faith leaders were quick to release statements of support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As with the nomination of Gorsuch last year, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) convened pastors across the nation to sign on to a letter emphasizing the nominee’s strengths on religious liberty issues.
Pastor Mark Burns of Harvest Praise & Worship Center (Easley, S.C.):
— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) July 10, 2018
Ed Stetzer of Christianity Today and Wheaton College (Chicagoland, Ill.):
President Trump is not appointing himself to the bench. He is nominating a respected jurist. If that respect is unearned, we will see during the confirmation hearing. But, for many, any conservative would be unacceptable. https://t.co/x7yw07i9QR
— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) July 10, 2018
Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.):
President Trump promised a constitutionalist – someone who will call balls and strikes according to the Constitution. Judge Kavanaugh has a long & praiseworthy history of judging as an originalist. We look forward to having a justice with his philosophical approach on the Court.
— Tony Perkins (@tperkins) July 10, 2018
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC):
We believe the judicial philosophy of Judge Kavanaugh merits his appointment and the Senate should work diligently toward his confirmation. Join us in praying for all those involved as the confirmation process begins. #SCOTUS https://t.co/enenq4EzbM
— ERLC (@ERLC) July 10, 2018
Some who have vocally criticized President Trump in the past expressed support of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard:
As the president prepares to nominate a well-qualified jurist tonight, let us pause a minute to pay tribute to two giants who paved the way, when that way was not popular or easy, for the rebirth of a thoughtful and principled constitutionalism: Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 9, 2018
Senator John McCain of Arizona:
Judge Brett Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials & a strong record of upholding the Constitution. He is widely respected as a fair, independent & mainstream judge. I look forward to the Senate moving forward with a fair & thorough confirmation process. https://t.co/5Y5oWo36RB
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 10, 2018
Christina Sommers, scholar at American Enterprise Institute:
This—>A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh https://t.co/3K5apQnH6u
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) July 10, 2018
Erick Erickson of The Resurgent:
Truth is there are a lot of conservatives tonight who don't think Kavanaugh is strong on the life issue or religious liberty, despite his supporters' claims. But these conservatives are being placated and lulled to sleep by the hysterical screams of the left.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 10, 2018
Critics on the Left Speak Out
Then there’s the Left. Within moments of the announcement, a scheduled rally in front of the Supreme Court was underway. Some on-site, including Fox News host Shannon Bream, say the anger expressed made them feel unsafe. Leaders on the left also offered a preview of fierce anti-Kavanaugh rhetoric to come.
— PFAW (@peoplefor) July 10, 2018
.@SenSanders: "Are you ready for a fight?!? Are you ready to defend Roe v. Wade?"
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 10, 2018
The left has called every Republican President’s Supreme Court nominee “Armageddon” in some form of another for decades.
This time they really seem committed to making it happen.https://t.co/oJGRrFJlTA
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) July 10, 2018
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) July 10, 2018
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) July 10, 2018
— MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) July 10, 2018
Reasoned Policy Leaders Express Concerns
However, it was not only protestors and partisans who had unanswered questions about the nomination. Others on the right and left offered their own takes.
David French of National Review Institute:
Kavanaugh is by all accounts a good man who I predict will be an excellent justice. But he was not the best choice. Tonight, an opportunity was lost. My piece in the @washingtonpost: https://t.co/ZoOF01Hiu3
— David French (@DavidAFrench) July 10, 2018
Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners and Auburn Theological Seminary:
History teaches the net impact of Culture Wars not the end of abortion. It HAS been reversal of Civil Rights protections. @BrettKavanaugh nomination follows suit. People of color and other minorities at risk. #SCOTUSPICK #HitPauseonCultureWars https://t.co/FMu6SeiGBc
— Lisa Sharon Harper (@lisasharper) July 10, 2018
Robert Christian of Democrats for Life of America:
The priest who baptized two of my kids got a shoutout from a Supreme Court nominee tonight. I hope he internalized some of what that priest had to say about the common good and won’t be yet another judicial activist on the Court, deepening the branch’s dysfunction. I’m skeptical: pic.twitter.com/IQBDs52hyZ
— (((Robert Christian))) (@RGC3) July 10, 2018
Judge Andrew Napolitano, Sr. Judicial Analyst at Fox News:
‘Disappointed’ By Kavanaugh: He’s ‘Heart and Soul of the DC Establishment’https://t.co/Q9AEAa4dxm
— Judge Napolitano (@Judgenap) July 10, 2018
AFA: evangelical group calls Kavanaugh a "four star" appointment when we could have gotten a 5-star. But says it will NOT actively oppose nominee but will "let the process play out"–seeing praise for #Kavanaugh from pro-lifers. @AFA Statement: https://t.co/S7giIjKtSP
— Peter LaBarbera (@PeterLaBarbera) July 10, 2018
Rachel Bovard of the Conservative Partnership Institute:
Barrett would have been the go-to-the-mattresses choice. Kavanaugh appeases the moderates. If anyone cares about my non legally educated opinion, it’s meh.
— Rachel Bovard (@rachelbovard) July 10, 2018
Deeper Perspective and the Process Ahead
A months-long confirmation process awaits. Citizens and leaders alike will seek to understand the nominee’s record. All the while, advocacy campaigns will work to sway public opinion about Kavanaugh.
David Brooks of the New York Times:
If you want to change the world, build a community that can last for generations. https://t.co/F72ETrkb7e
— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) July 10, 2018
And https://t.co/lX6WFywzbA, a site launched by @judicialnetwork is live — and they've just announced a $1.4 million cable and digital ad campaign supporting Kavanaugh nomination in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 10, 2018
— Judicial Network (@judicialnetwork) July 10, 2018
Some conservatives don't like Kavanaugh. These conservatives, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, believe he is not sufficiently conservative. They disagree with portions of opinions he has written relating to abortion and the Affordable Care Act, for example. https://t.co/4CX1uTnvBy
— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) July 10, 2018
I weigh in here on the president's Supreme Court nominee and the near-hysterical reaction from the left. https://t.co/PCDvZVoQoO
— Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) July 10, 2018
Former Senator John Kyl has been tasked with ushering Judge Kavanaugh into private meetings with Senators of both parties during the confirmation process.
NEW: Jon Kyl will be the point person who will guide the SCOTUS nominee through the confirmation process from meeting senators to the questionnaire and the high profile confirmation hearing.
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) July 9, 2018
Average Timeline for SCOTUS Nominations
•Day 9: Nomination received in Senate
•Day 48: First hearing held
•Day 63: Judiciary Committee takes final vote
•Day 75: Senate takes final action on nominee pic.twitter.com/H2vyZPsGq2
— Fox News Research (@FoxNewsResearch) July 9, 2018
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky:
I look forward to the upcoming hearings, reviewing the record, and meeting personally with Judge Kavanaugh, with an open mind.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 10, 2018
Look for Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh by Friday, September 21.
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) July 10, 2018
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