Good presidential nominations are obvious when criticisms of the nominee are baseless and petty. If this is the litmus test, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the right nominee for the Supreme Court. The personal life criticisms stem from the outrageous drinking of beer in college, and that his first name is that of a “frat boy.” The professional criticism from both the left and the far right seems to be focused upon fears Kavanaugh will either seek to overturn or maintain Roe v. Wade.
Kavanaugh, by all accounts, shuns judicial activism. Judicial activists seek to overturn perceived unseemly precedent, modify legislation through unilateral dictates, and are decision driven. They have little respect for the doctrine of Separation of Powers and create unpredictability in what is supposed to be a reliable justice system. For those of us who believe in the legal maxim of blind justice, guided by precedent and strict adherence to law without rogue interpretation, judicial activism is a stab in the heart to Lady Justice. This may be why far-right conservatives are not happy with Kavanaugh as a nominee, as they fear he will not overturn Roe v. Wade. They are right to be concerned, Kavanaugh declared as much years ago when he responded to Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “… I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the Court. It’s been decided by the Supreme Court.” This answer is the epitome of judicial restraint. So too will be upholding judicial precedent declaring state imposed reasonable restrictions on abortion that do not place undue burden on access are constitutional. I would posit that the line of Supreme Court precedent on abortion will remain unchanged under Kavanaugh if he remains true to the guiding principles of respecting precedent and exercising judicial restraint. This will surely upset both the left and the far right.
Other criticisms of Kavanaugh are extraordinarily petty. If the worst dirt the opposition can find on Kavanaugh relates to attending keggers and drinking beer, the same only underscores that Kavanaugh is as American as apple pie. Furthermore, Kavanaugh didn’t pick his first name, and his parents don’t deserve criticism for their choice.
Kavanaugh appears to lead a very humble, service-driven life. Judicial activism is generally found in entertaining opinions written with flair and “social justice” arguments. I expect thorough, reasoned, rule-of-law based and predictable opinions. So yes, he will be predictable and not prone to flair, but this is exactly what our founding fathers envisioned from the Supreme Court and our Justice System. He deserves confirmation.
Tammi Fisher is an attorney and former mayor of Kalispell.