Brett Kavanaugh is considered one of the final three contenders that President Donald Trump has on his short list of candidates to fill the vacancy that will be left when Justice Anthony Kennedy retires. While Kavanaugh is regarded as a solid jurist, the fear is that he may be too moderate for the position. Right now, what Trump and the RNC are looking for is someone that will act as an ultra-conservative, and the word going around the beltway is that Kavanaugh isn’t that guy. What they say he is, however, is someone they can point to later and say “See? We gave a moderate a shot.”
The Hill reported that a whisper campaign has been making its way around the corridors of power that may keep Kavanaugh from receiving any further consideration to advance. It is rumored that most Republicans would prefer Amy Coney Barrett or Raymond Kethledge to be tapped for the bench, as there is little or no doubt regarding how they will vote on key issues such as abortion, the Affordable Care Act, and possibly even lawsuits that may arise as a part of the investigation into Trump and his campaign by Special Counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
On paper, Kavanaugh seems like the perfect candidate for someone like Trump to put forth. He’s been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 2006, and his history of decisions, some of which appeared on Reason, seems mostly favorable to the people that make up Trump’s base supporters. He’s soft on guns, particularly assault weapons, he has a very narrow view of the 4 amendment, and he is all for money in politics. Where he is problematic, is that he has not said he would reverse Roe v Wade if given the opportunity, and has in one case voted in favor of a woman’s right to have an abortion. Regardless of how pro-religion he has voted in the past, that does not jive with what is seemingly the only requirement Trump has for a SCOTUS candidate. If that wasn’t enough, he also ruled in favor of the individual mandate on the ACA.
Chuck Schumer has had plenty to say about Kavanaugh and has been lining up any allies he has to try to make sure he can block Kavanaugh from taking a seat on SCOTUS if nominated.
“Kavanaugh frequently sides with powerful interests rather than defending the rights of all Americans, like when he argued that the FCC’s Net Neutrality rule benefiting millions of consumers was unconstitutional.”
Senators Rand Paul (Ky.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) have both expressed concerns about Kavanaugh joining SCOTUS. With McCain not voting due to illness, that leaves the Republicans with 50 votes, potentially minus Cotton and Paul, which would be 48, and not enough for Kavanaugh unless some Democrats flip sides. It has been rumored that some Republican candidates facing tough re-election bids have also intimated that they weren’t sure if they could vote for Kavanaugh based on his record of decisions and that either of the other candidates would be better for optics when campaigning.