People For the American Way

Who is Brett Kavanaugh?

Federal Update
Who is Brett Kavanaugh?

Earlier tonight, President Donald Trump announced his nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Even before Kavanaugh’s name was revealed, Donald Trump made clear exactly what we’d be getting. He repeatedly bragged about his shortlist of potential nominees, cherry-picked and vetted by far right legal organizations the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation based on the litmus tests Trump laid out during the campaign: a commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade and to undermining the Affordable Care Act.

Indeed, Kavanaugh’s record on reproductive freedom clarifies the kinds of decisions he would make regarding Roe on the bench if he was confirmed. Just last year, he blocked a 17-year old immigrant’s request for an abortion in the now-infamous Jane Doe case, only to be overruled by the full DC Circuit. Beyond such disturbing views on choice, he has ruled against the ACA, workers, consumers, and the environment—and is in favor of unlimited executive power. Here are a few essential need-to-know facts about Brett Kavanaugh that make clear just how extreme he is — and the lasting damage he could do if confirmed to a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court.

  • Kavanaugh has repeatedly argued that the president should be above the law, claiming that presidents have carte blanche to claim “absolute discretion” to determine the scope of independent counsel investigations and should be exempt from legal inquiries until after they leave office.
  • In a case challenging the Affordable Care Act, Kavanaugh wrote an opinion that would have kept alive a frivolous attack on the health care of millions of Americans.
  • In a case argued earlier this year, Kavanaugh argued that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created to protect consumers from unscrupulous financial institutions, is unconstitutional.
  • He’s also argued against net neutrality, making a similar claim that the FCC’s neutrality rule benefitting millions was unconstitutional.
  • In his time on the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh has repeatedly ruled against protections for clean air and clean water and against workers fighting discrimination and mistreatment on the job.
  • As a federal judge, Kavanaugh has dissented from more decisions per year than any other active judge on the circuit.

Judge Kavanaugh’s record is proof positive that he was nominated specifically because he would continue to advance the Right’s extreme agenda. And with his nomination, Trump and his allies are inching closer to cementing a Court majority dramatically to the right of what Americans want or deserve.

In short, Kavanaugh is yet another narrow-minded elitist whose favors the interests of the wealthy and powerful over the rights of all Americans. It’s time to stand up and fight to make clear that we can’t afford Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.


Brett Kavanaugh, Protecting the Supreme Court, Supreme Court