4 things to know about Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

The nominee has strong opinions on everything from abortion to net neutrality.

4 things to know about Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee
[Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images]

The 53-year-old judge is Trump’s pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The nomination is sure to be a heated one for Kavanaugh, who used to be an aide to President George W. Bush. Here are four things to know about Trump’s pick:


1. He seems to think sitting presidents should be protected from indictment, reports Vox. In a 2009 article, Kavanaugh wrote:

A . . . possible concern is that the country needs a check against a bad-behaving or law-breaking President. But the Constitution already provides that check. If the President does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available. No single prosecutor, judge, or jury should be able to accomplish what the Constitution assigns to the Congress. . . . The President’s job is difficult enough as is. And the country loses when the President’s focus is distracted by the burdens of civil litigation or criminal investigation and possible prosecution.

2. He doesn’t like net neutrality, reports Variety:

He’s not only certain that the FCC lacks authority to impose the regulations, but that such rules violate the First Amendment.

In a dissent last year, he wrote that “Supreme Court precedent establishes that internet service providers have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion over whether and how to carry internet content.” He added that the government “may interfere with that right only if it shows that an internet service provider has market power in a relevant geographic market.” That was something the FCC did not do, he noted.

3. While he has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v. Wade, last year he dissented in a ruling that said an undocumented immigrant teenager in detention was entitled to seek an abortion, reports CNN:

In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote the Supreme Court has held that “the government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion.” He wrote that the high court has “held that the government may further those interests so long as it does not impose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion.” He said the majority opinion was “based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.” He added, however, that “all parties to this case recognize Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as precedents we must follow.”

4. He’s no friend of the environment, says a 2015 report from E&E News:

A Republican operative-turned-federal judge has emerged as one of the most powerful critics of President Obama’s environmental rules.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh–a 50-year-old George W. Bush administration appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit–has pounded the administration in a series of legal opinions rebuffing some of its most high-profile air pollution rules. And because he’s widely seen as an influential voice with Supreme Court justices and a leading contender for a GOP nomination to the high court, Kavanaugh’s legal moves are being closely watched by those on both sides of the environmental debate.

Given Kavanaugh’s “track record in these important cases over the last few years, I would think him a judge that is more open to second-guessing the EPA than nearly anyone,” said Tom Donnelly, counsel at the left-leaning Constitutional Accountability Center.

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at