President Donald Trump made a solid pick in his choice of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is not conservative as Justice Clarence Thomas, but he will be to the right of Justice Anthony Kennedy and another in a long list of sharp legal minds on the high court.
Kavanaugh clerked for Kennedy before working for Ken Starr during the investigation that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He served as the voice of restraint on Starr’s staff encouraging Starr to push back against right-wing conspiracists who claimed Vince Foster had been murdered. He served George W. Bush at a time the filibuster still affected judicial nominations. Kavanaugh advised Bush to nominate judges who had written extensively about the need for judicial restraint without having expressly tackled hot button issues such as abortion or guns. His advice led to President Bush nominating both John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
It is rare to see a judge elevated to the Supreme Court who has so influenced the Supreme Court. Beyond Kavanaugh's help in shaping the composition of the current court, both liberal and conservative justices on the Court have heeded his opinions from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Eleven Supreme Court decisions in the past decade have expressly endorsed Kavanaugh’s opinions. That’s the sign of a great legal mind, whether or not you agree with Kavanaugh on any one decision. He is highly regarded already by his future colleagues.
I say "future colleagues" intentionally because what happens next is Kavanaugh is going to get confirmed. But between now and his confirmation vote, there will be a grand and elaborate kabuki theater of pretend drama.
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Democrats will claim to need more time to vet Kavanaugh, though they have already come out against him and declared their minds made up. Republicans will first humor the Democrats' request for more information, but will eventually declare the Democrats are stalling.
Democrats will use allies in the press to run salacious stories selectively excerpting and mendaciously describing Kavanaugh opinions. Democrat groups will raise funds off all this. The Democrat base will take to the streets. The Women's March organizers, who sent out their press release against Kavanaugh with "XX" as the name of the nominee indicating they wrote it in advance, will take to the streets.
Then the red garments will come out as Democrats march in Handmaid's Tale outfits claiming Trump and all the men on the Supreme Court will impose the Republic of Gilead on us, and women will be forced into homes and out of jobs. Left-wing law professors will make themselves look like clowns on television insisting Roe v. Wade is at stake if Kavanaugh gets confirmed. Republicans will mock this and feminists will get angry at the deserved mockery.
Democrats will go through a dog and pony show in the Judiciary Committee where they will ask tough questions of Kavanaugh to give them material for their 2020 presidential runs. Kavanaugh will pretend to attempt serious answers and Democrats will pretend to not be reading their scripts getting ready for their next question while Kavanaugh talks. Then they'll all denounce him again, say they won't vote for him, and demand delays while they raise money. And then? Then, Kavanaugh will get more than 50 votes to be the next Supreme Court justice. He will be confirmed. Everything between now and then will be about exciting the bases of the parties for November and Democrats auditioning for 2020. But Kavanaugh will be confirmed, and the confirmation will happen before the Supreme Court convenes again. Then, for another Supreme Court term, nothing will happen to Roe v. Wade.
Erick Erickson is host of Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB Radio.