Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, Brett Kavanaugh, causes riots across the nation

Jankhna Sura, Features Editor

Brett Kavanaugh, a U.S. Supreme Court nominee appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Sept. 4 and began his four day Supreme Court confirmation hearing. During the hearing Kavanaugh was questioned about abortion, gun laws, presidential power and additional conservative principles.

If confirmed, 53-year-old Kavanaugh will replace the recently retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, a regular swing voter on divisible issues such abortion, affirmative action and LGBTQ+ rights.

Kavanaugh is a conservative judge and conceivably one of the most conservative, which people fear would upset the balance of the Supreme Court.

From the start, Democrats have fought Kavanaugh’s nomination, suspecting that his appointment would lead to a majority conservative Supreme Court. Senate Democrats additionally feared that if confirmed, Kavanaugh will negate abortion rights, limit affirmative action, weaken environmental regulations and overlook liberal concerns. Even many Republicans were dubious about whether Kavanaugh would be the proper choice for the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS).

A main issue Kavanaugh was questioned about was his stance on abortion. In 1973, SCOTUS made a “landmark decision” that guaranteed a woman the right to get an abortion under the 14th Amendment in Roe v. Wade. In a secret 2003 email that was leaked to The New York Times, Kavanaugh questioned if the Roe v. Wade ruling was a “settled law of the land.” When asked about the email, Sep.6, Kavanaugh stated that he was not contributing his own opinion but those of scholars. He said that in the email he was unsure if the case was settled “since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.”

It is known that Kavanaugh is anti-abortion, yet he has not said if he thinks that the ruling was correct or if he would attempt to overturn it. This sparked major controversy among abortion rights activists, who claim that President Trump nominated judges for the high court that would reverse the landmark decision of SCOTUS. Additionally, a comment from last year by Kavanaugh was made public in which he called and lauded Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, an opposer of Roe, a “judicial hero.”

“The controversy isn’t so much about whether Kavanaugh is anti-Roe, but whether he is being honest about whether he would rule based on personal ideology or whether he would use the Constitution as the basis if his opinion, if he is open to considering the merits of all sides,” said Trena Kirby, AP Government and Politics teacher.

Kavanaugh’s views on presidential authority were additionally up for question. He has argued that presidents should not be under civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions or investigations while in office; his views shaped by the his involvement with the presidential investigation of Bill Clinton in the 1990s. This position was troublesome to many as President Trump, who nominated him, is undergoing an investigation and facing several lawsuits.

“By the time you get high enough to be nominated to the Supreme Court, you have ruled on all kinds of cases and have written about all of them, whether they ‘speak’ or not, there is usually a record out there,” said Kirby. “However, to nominate or confirm someone on these opinions really goes against the whole point of the judiciary, which is supposed to be above politics altogether.”

Protests about Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court judge were not minimal. The first days of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing were disrupted by protesters that were later removed as they shouted,  “Vote no on Kavanaugh!” and “My daughter has the right to choose!”

On the first day of Kavanaugh’s hearing alone, over 70 people were arrested for outbursts and as the protests continued throughout the week, the numbers rose to 200 arrests. The protests became so frequent that the hearing had to be paused as Republicans became frustrated at the number of interruptions. Sept. 5, officers closed off the hearing to additional viewers when the protests became excessive. There were also multiple interjections from Democratic senators claiming that Kavanaugh had partisanship and there was concern that his loyalty would be to President Trump, and not to the constitution.  

“I think it’s been a bit of a madhouse with all the protesting, it’s just further proof of how divided our country is becoming,” said Conner Gregory, senior. “Frankly, it’s not as though he’s the worst nomination ever but it appears that some people feel that way because there is so much political division.”

According to GOP lawmakers, senators will present questions to Kavanaugh before voting the week of Sept. 17. The White House hopes that Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the Senate to join the Supreme Court by September to be ready for the the new term beginning Oct. 1. The final vote will be the last week of September.

“I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge,” Judge Kavanaugh said to the committee. “I’m not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.”