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Brett Kavanaugh sverger eden som dommer i appellretten til høyesterettsdommer Anthony Kennedy i 2006.

Bilde: Eric Draper, White House.

Brett Kavanaugh er uvanlig godt kvalifisert som høyesterettsdommer. Her er noen reaksjoner på nominasjonen.

Donald Trump bekjentgjorde i går kveld at han utnevner Brett Kavanaugh som ny Høyesterettsdommer. Analysene av hvor dommere står, og hvordan de vil påvirke retten fremover, vil alltid sprike en del, og i ettertid viser de seg ofte å bomme litt. Men det er stor enighet om at Trump valgte bort den mest konservative av favorittene, Amy Coney Barrett.

Jeg skrev for to uker siden om betydningen av denne utnevnelsen, og nøyer meg denne gang med å gjengi og kommentere noen sentrale poenger fra analysene i amerikansk presse. Jeg har forsøkt å skrelle vekk slagordmessig kritikk eller skryt, som ikke gir innsikt. Som Ana Navarro twitret:

“Trump could nominate the Second Coming of Jesus, and Trump opponents would still claim, it’s Satan’s Spawn. Trump could nominate Satan’s Spawn, and Trump supporters would still claim, it is the Second Coming of Jesus.”

Velkvalifisert

I New York Times leverer jusprofessor og Clinton-velger Akhil Reed Amar det han kaller “et liberalt forsvar» for Kavanaugh:

“Last week the president promised to select “someone with impeccable credentials, great intellect, unbiased judgment, and deep reverence for the laws and Constitution of the United States.” In picking Judge Kavanaugh, he has done just that.”

Richard Wolf starter sin artikkel i sentrumsorienterte USA Today slik:

“On paper, Brett Michael Kavanaugh may be the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in generations.”

Balanse med konservativ slagside

Liberalkonservative Ross Douthat i New York Times skriver om et fenomen jeg påpekte i min egen artikkel – at justitiarius Roberts ønsker en balansert rett:

“Chief Justice John Roberts has been willing to play the swing vote in his own consensus-oriented, restraint-prioritizing way. So if Kavanaugh is even somewhat Roberts-esque (as his detractors on the right have feared) in his approach, you could end up with a court that is more conservative but also more cautious than the Kennedy-era court, which had a swing justice more likely to go all-in for whichever side he swung toward.

And then even if Kavanaugh proves aggressive (and his appellate record suggests he might be), and even if he frequently joins Clarence Thomas on the court’s right flank, it’s easy to imagine the prudent Roberts becoming still more cautious and consensus-oriented in response. “

Men Douthat er også blant dem som mener at retten til fri abort på føderalt nivå vil falle, noe jeg ikke tror. (Casey viser til siste gang Høyesterett behandlet dette spørsmålet):

“I think a Roberts-Kavanaugh court, however restrained in other ways, will overrule Casey and allow the states to legislate freely on abortion once again. But this is not the view of many savvy court-watchers, many legal conservatives included, who expect at most a gradual widening of the room for second-trimester regulation.”

Presedens redder abortloven

Adam Cancryn hos Politico addresserer også retten til fri abort og skriver at Kavanaugh har:

“toed a delicate line on abortion and Obamacare cases over more than a decade on the bench, favoring precedent and compromise over fiery proclamations. (…)

Kavanaugh has passed up opportunities on legal opinions to stake out a position on the landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. And some conservative critics before the announcement raised fresh concerns about comments he made 12 years ago pledging to follow Roe, calling it the “binding precedent of the court.”

“I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully,” Kavanaugh said during his 2006 confirmation hearing for the D.C. appellate court. “It’s been reaffirmed many times.”

Som jeg påpekte i min egen artikkel tilsier lignende uttalelser fra justitiarius Roberts om viktigheten av presedens at Roe v. Wade vil bestå. Den republikanske senatoren fra Maine, Susan Collins, som er aborttilhenger, har erklært at hun ikke vil stemme for en som vil omstøte Roe v. Wade, men det må forstås som en som eksplisitt sier at han vil gjøre det. Denne uttalelsen fra Kavanaugh burde være nok til at hun stemmer for ham.

Cancryn fortsetter:

“Justice Kavanaugh would be a moderate constitutionalist somewhere between Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts,” Phillip Jauregi, president of the conservative Judicial Action Group, wrote in a June memo backing Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the open seat. “Kavanaugh may be a decent nominee, but this present opportunity demands more than ‘decent’ — it demands our best.”

Alvin Chang hos liberale Vox er uenig med Cancryn og viser til Martin-Quinns metode for å plassere dommere basert på deres praksis. Der havner Kavanaugh som noe mer konservativ enn Alito og nykommer Gorsuch, og dermed som den nest mest konservative.

Konservativ skuffelse

Den konservative never-Trumper David French kritiserer fra høyre i Washington Post, basert på håpet om at Trump ville nominere den svært konservative Barrett:

“Then, he went establishment. He chose a man that any Republican president would have nominated. He made the best safe choice he could: Judge Brett Kavanaugh. (…) Especially for America’s Christian conservatives, a potential Barrett nomination represented a chance for an important cultural moment — an opportunity for the best of young professional Christians to face the worst of progressive antireligion bias and prevail on the largest possible stage.“

Kristenkonservative American Family Association har bedt sine medlemmer jobbe for at Kavanaugh ikke blir godkjent.

Dylan Matthews, også Vox, har merket seg betenkelighetene på høyresiden:

«Kavanaugh has his defenders, but concern has been growing in right-wing legal circles about his decisions in religious liberty cases and on Obamacare. Even cautiously pro-Kavanaugh writers are skeptical he’s the best possible pick.” (Det er gjort nærmere rede for disse innvendingene i artikkelen.)

Trumps egeninteresse

Matthews fortsetter:

“That said, Kavanaugh would almost certainly fall to the right of Anthony Kennedy as a Supreme Court justice, and enable a rightward shift in the Court’s jurisprudence for years or decades to come. Even more concerning for liberals, he has suggested enhancing the president’s power to block criminal and civil actions against him, a potentially worrisome position when the president nominating him is under investigation and facing multiple lawsuits.”

Politicos Darren Samuelsohn tar også tak i det siste. Trump har egeninteresse av å velge Kavanaugh:

“Later, in a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh wrote that presidents should be immune while in office from “time-consuming and distracting” criminal investigations. “Like civil suits, criminal investigations take the President’s focus away from his or her responsibilities to the people. And a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President.”

Politico har snakket med et knippe eksperter, med svært varierende analyser.

Scotusblogg har en grundig gjennomgang av de viktigste sakene han har behandlet.

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