Praise for Kavanaugh Sweeps In

Conservatives, some liberals back Trump pick for SCOTUS

Judge Brett Kavanaugh
Judge Brett Kavanaugh / Getty Images

Praise for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy, has poured in since his Monday night nomination.

Trump announced his nomination of the 53-year-old D.C.-Circuit appeals judge from the White House in primetime, highlighting his "impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law."

"There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving," Trump said.

Numerous prominent voices agreed, echoing Trump’s praise for his nominee.

Former President George W. Bush, who originally nominated Kavanaugh to the D.C. Circuit and in whose administration Kavanaugh worked, called his nomination an "outstanding decision."

"Brett is a brilliant jurist who has faithfully applied the Constitution and laws throughout his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit. He is a fine husband, father, and friend—and a man of the highest integrity. He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States," Bush said.

Conservative activists echoed Bush.

"The president understands that his appointments to the High Court may very well be his longest-lasting legacy, and he has selected yet another highly-qualified individual who, like Neil Gorsuch, will be impartial, fair, and principled," said Kay Cole James, president of the Heritage Foundation.

"President Trump has once again fulfilled his promise to nominate a fair and independent Supreme Court Justice who will honor the Constitution and the rule of law," Jenny Beth Martin, chairman of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, said. "Judge Kavanaugh has a stellar record of as an originalist, and has proven to be a strong defender of the Second Amendment and freedom of speech and religion."

The conservative legal movement swung into action immediately following Trump's rollout. The Judicial Crisis Network, an organization that works to confirm conservative court nominees, announced a $1.4 million ad buy to support the nomination. The ads will be targeted especially at red state Democrats, specifically Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Manchin (W. Va.).

"Brett Kavanaugh is a home run," said Carrie Severino, chief counsel for JCN. "Like Gorsuch, Kavanaugh is brilliant, fair and independent, committed to following the law and honoring the Constitution. I look forward to the confirmation of another great justice."

Several commentators pointed to what Kavanaugh's nomination might mean for the future priorities of the court.

Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University and writer for the popular legal blog "Volokh Conspiracy," wrote that the "Kavanaugh nomination shows Trump Administration is serious about taming the administrative state." And David French, a legal commentator at National Review, wrote that Kavanaugh has "been solid on free speech and religious liberty."

Kavanaugh's supporters are not only conservatives.

Akhil Amar, a prominent constitutional scholar at Yale Law School and an avowed liberal, wrote in the New York Times Monday evening that the Kavanaugh nomination was "Trump's finest hour, his classiest move." Amar, who taught Kavanaugh when the latter was in law school, lauded the judge for his breadth of experience, dedication to legal scholarship, and personal character.

"Today, with the exception of the current justices and Judge Garland, it is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge Kavanaugh," Amar wrote.

Elise Jordan, a political analyst for the left-leaning MSNBC who has made less-than-flattering comments about Trump in the past, had kind words for Kavanaugh, under whom she wrote she had previously worked.

"There are few people I've worked under that I respect as much as Judge Brett Kavanaugh," Jordan wrote on Twitter Monday night. "As a young speechwriting aide when he was Staff Sec, I learned so much from his example of discipline, attention to detail, factual accuracy, and, most of all, human decency."