Kavanaugh W⁠i⁠ll Check Pres⁠i⁠den⁠t⁠⁠i⁠al Power — Shouldn’⁠t⁠ Dems Welcome Tha⁠t⁠?

By: The James Madison Institute / 2018



By: Dr. Robert McClure

September 5, 2018

As this week’s confirmation hearings begin for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, I would like to offer my good friends on the Left who so adamantly oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court a bit of wisdom that they may wish to keep in mind. My advice is this: that the very reason you think Judge Kavanaugh should be opposed is the single most pivotal reason to support his nomination.

What do I mean? Well, based on his history, his prior rulings, and his own articulated judicial philosophy, Judge Kavanaugh is what we would call a textualist. A textualist is someone who looks to the original language of the Constitution and Bill of Rights as the ultimate plumb line for discerning whether or not a law passes muster.

Back 231 years ago, the authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights sought to establish a framework for self-governance that would stand the test of time. In doing so, they formally articulated the specific powers that would rest in each branch of the government they were establishing.

In the legislative branch, they set the power for passing laws and funding the operations of the government. This was designed to ensure that the people’s representatives would be held accountable for their decisions at the most localized level.

In addition, the Founders laid out the specific duties and powers of the Executive Branch — serving as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, making treaties (with consent of the Senate), filling vacancies, and signing or vetoing legislation passed by the Congress.

In setting forth the judicial branch, I’m reminded of a quote attributed to famous British politician and historian Lord Acton — that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In the Founders’ wisdom, the ultimate insurance policy against the inevitable power creep of the Congress and the Executive would rest in the independence, authority, and oversight of the judicial branch. The court’s sole responsibility is to ensure that neither the Congress nor the president overstep their bounds as set by the text of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I’m struggling to understand a seemingly glaring paradox in the logic of the Left in opposing Judge Kavanaugh.

They (the Left) are completely convinced of President Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. In their collective minds, President Donald Trump is the reincarnation of every megalomaniac that ever walked the earth. And if left to his own devices, he would destroy the very fabric of our existence. Yes, I realize this may be a bit of hyperbole — but I’ve also heard worse. In the face of that perception of the current president, they are opposing a nominee for the Supreme Court who has spent his entire career advocating for a proper check on that very power. The very reason the Left so vehemently despises President Trump should be the very reason they should support Judge Kavanaugh.

In opposing him, and in signaling their opposition to anyone President Trump would have nominated (protestors had pre-made, insert-name-here signs), the Left shows that it isn’t serious about wanting to maintain a check on the power of the Executive Branch. It isn’t serious about having a judiciary that recognizes the checks and balances presented 231 years ago that have made our country the beacon of liberty it is today. It isn’t serious about a dialogue on the proper role for the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government. It’s only serious about one thing: blind opposition regardless of the merits. It’s my sincere belief that, when confirmed, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh will prove the naysayers wrong.

Dr. Robert McClure provides expert perspective on current issues facing our nation and his home state of Florida, the third-largest state in the nation and a policy bellwether for the country. Recently named one of the Most Influential People in Florida Politics, Dr. McClure serves as the President and CEO of The James Madison Institute, Florida’s premier free-market think tank. He is a frequent commentator on television and talk radio programs and has lectured nationally on diverse policy issues. Dr. McClure has been published numerous times at both the state and national level on topics including property rights, tax policy, health care, and education reform. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.