Hiring: New Supreme Court Justice 👀

 Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Justice for all

Last night, Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as his pick to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Trump’s pick cements the possibility of a conservative-leaning Supreme Court for a generation, potentially impacting progressive legislation on issues such as healthcare and net neutrality. 81-year-old Justice Kennedy was often viewed as the Court's swing vote. 

The abortion debate

Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment has sparked debate over the future of the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion. Pro-choice groups fear that Trump’s promise that his appointees will be pro-life won't be upheld. Kavanaugh was criticized by both sides for his dissent on Garza v. Hagan, in which he tried to block an undocumented teenager from obtaining an abortion while in immigration custody.

 



The right views Trump’s pick as strategic yet lacking. On one hand, they commend Kavanaugh’s exposure to federal cases involving regulation and policy. On the other hand, some believe Kavanaugh is too compromising on issues like abortion and immigration. Pro-lifers in particular view Kavanaugh’s appointment as a loss of opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade

The left worries about the impact of a conservative judge but concedes that Kavanaugh is qualified for the job. However, they point to Garza v. Hagan as an example of the threat he may pose to civil liberties. Nonetheless, some left folk approve of Kavanaugh’s judicial restraint. They are relieved that Trump passed over candidates who leaned farther right than Kavanaugh.

Only time will tell

Trump’s pick this time around undoubtedly tilts the political balance of the Supreme Court, but Kavanaugh’s silence on abortion still poses unanswered questions to its fate. Kavanaugh’s rejection to take a more staunch dissent on the abortion in Garza v. Hagan may indicate that his appointment won’t completely threaten Roe v. Wade. Nonetheless, his initial decision to block the abortion in the case does show that he could restrict abortion accessibility. With the right feeling lukewarm and the left questioning Kavanaugh's approach to the law, we may see a particularly contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this time around. 

Finding the right balance


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