With all of the current affairs in national politics, it may seem hard to keep track of important information and issues. However, one new issue stands above the rest, having the ability to drastically affect the future of this nation’s legislation for decades: deciding who will be the newest United States Supreme Court Justice.
The process of choosing a new Justice comes after the announced retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in late June. Although appointed during the Reagan administration, Justice Kennedy was often a key swing vote on the court, playing the deciding factor on several cases. He was one of the Justices that supported the legalization of gay marriage and has long defended women’s choice rights such as abortion and contraceptives. In more conservative decisions, he argued against increased gun control and limits on corporate campaign spending.
With Justice Kennedy’s retirement and the 2018 elections approaching, President Trump and the Republican Party will be quickly replacing Kennedy on the Supreme Court. The President’s frontrunner is Brett Kavanaugh, a Yale graduate who currently serves on the Court of Appeals. Kavanaugh has already undergone intense questioning by Democrats, as they attempt to postpone the vote on Kavanaugh. If they are able to postpone the vote until after the fall election, it will increase the chances of a more liberal justice being nominated.
Over his three-decade-long career in law, Kavanaugh has established himself as a moderate conservative. He is pro-life, against increased gun control and is rarely in favor of environmental regulation. His pro-life mindset was one of the deciding factors of his nomination. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump vowed to only nominate judges to the Supreme Court who are pro-life, and also expressed his intentions to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.
For Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony List, President Trump’s vow was reassuring and comforting.
“The most important commitment that President Trump has made to the pro-life movement has been his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, a commitment he honored by swiftly nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch,” said Dannenfelser.
Others have not been so keen on Trump’s promise.
“[The nomination] promise should set off alarm bells for anyone who cares about women — and the Constitution,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The future of reproductive rights is on the line.”
While Kavanaugh is pro-life, his election to the Supreme Court would help President Trump in another way. Kavanaugh has previously expressed his support for banning presidential investigations while they are in office. He believes that in-office investigations cause major distractions from more important matters, and cause presidents to perform worse.
With presidential scandals involving Russia, sexual harassment and other issues, President Trump sees Kavanaugh as the perfect advocate for the cease of investigations until the end of his time in office.
There is no certainty as to how long the Democrats will be able to postpone the vote on Kavanaugh, nor what will happen next regarding President Trump. The result of both will likely affect the nation’s politics for a long time.