by Will Nash '20
When Brett Kavanaugh was first nominated by President Trump last summer to the Supreme Court seat left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, hysteria ensued. Members of the left were quick to point to his voting record, his written opinions, and his views to suggest that his career on the nation’s highest court would spell catastrophe. In a Washington Post article entitled “It’s hard to find a federal judge more conservative than Brett Kavanaugh,” it was asserted that Kavanaugh had the second-most conservative voting record in all policy areas between 2003 and 2018. Many even went so far as to suggest that Kavanaugh would provide the conservative majority vote necessary to repeal Roe v. Wade.
However, these fears have recently proved to be unfounded. Judge Kavanaugh’s voting record thus far on the Supreme Court has been much more centrist than anticipated. Although many expected him and fellow Justice Neil Gorsuch, both alumni of Georgetown Prep, to be “jurisprudential twins,” that has so far not been the case, with the two disagreeing on a wide range of issues, including Planned Parenthood and the death penalty.
Case in point, only yesterday, Justice Kavanaugh ruled in favor of allowing an antitrust suit against Apple to go forward. In doing so, Kavanaugh sided with Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, the traditional liberal justices of the court. He also authored the majority opinion for the case, while his fellow conservative colleagues (Justices Roberts, Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito) dissented.
While on the outset, many pundits on both the right and the left believed they had a lock on Kavanaugh’s political agenda, his most recent court decisions have shown that his views are much more nuanced than they initially may seem. While one can argue about whether the sexual assault allegations against him are true or not, the simple truth is that Kavanaugh’s judgeship thus far is exceeding everyone’s expectations. During his contentious confirmation hearings, many believed that Kavanaugh’s terse answers reflected a lack of the calm and poise necessary to make decisions on the nation’s highest court. However, Kavanaugh, through his voting record, has shown that he is able to regard every issue that comes in front of the court with a dispassionate and unbiased demeanor.
Kavanaugh’s recent court decisions also display a courageous sense of loyalty to the higher ideals of jurisprudence: rather than voting along party lines, Kavanaugh is taking his role on the nation’s court very seriously, weighing legal precedent rather than his own political views. Ultimately, his approach to deciding the most important cases in the land is refreshing, and one can only hope that under his judicial example, the Supreme Court will revert to its original job of interpreting the Constitution, rather than pursuing one political party’s agenda.