Minnesota Court Observers Weigh in on Supreme Court Nomination

July 09, 2018 10:36 PM

President Donald J. Trump announced Monday night Brett Kavanaugh is his nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“There is no one more qualified and no one more deserving,” President Trump said.

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RELATED: Trump Picks Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

Kavanaugh, 53, has served as judge since 2006, on the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.

“I’m grateful to you and humbled by your confidence in me,” Kavanaugh said to the President during the prime-time press conference. 

Kavanaugh went on to say that if he's confirmed, he "will keep an open mind in every case" and "always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law."

The nominee announcement came after weeks of speculation as to who would fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, after nearly 30 years on the bench.

University of Minnesota Professor Timothy R. Johnson, who has published books on the Supreme Court, weighed in on the major announcement.

“This nominee is very important what we would call in political science a 'critical nominee',” Johnson said Monday evening about Kavanaugh.

The court will hear new cases again in October; there has been debate in the last several weeks as to what a more conservative judge will mean for the cases that could come before the Supreme Court.

"Justices and the court as a whole have to wait for cases to come to it, while those cases are percolating in the area of abortion rights, or same-sex marriage rights, or campaign finance,” said Johnson. “Those big issues, it's still going to take a little bit of time for those cases to get to the court."

“Make no mistake about it, Justice Kennedy himself was quite conservative. But he did act as a swing vote in some important areas, including abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action,” said University of Minnesota Law Professor Heidi Kitrosser. “So on those and likely more fronts, the Court will become more reliably conservative if Judge Kavanaugh becomes Justice Kavanaugh."

Kavanaugh spoke at a University of Minnesota Law School event in 2008 and later published an article about the event.

He also worked with special prosecutor Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton back in the 1990s and spoke about the experience at the event.

He later wrote in a Minnesota Law Review article, that sitting presidents should receive temporary deferral of civil suits and of criminal prosecutions and investigations, saying they are “time-consuming and distracting.”

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Eric Chaloux

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