OPINION-EDITORIAL

Trump’s judge pick fatally flawed

by Rep. Michael Capuano (MA-07) | Read it on bostonherald.com

March 17, 2018

The day many of us feared when Donald Trump was elected president arrived July 9. He has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Kavanaugh will be in a position to reshape the direction of our country for generations. Sure, Judge Kavanaugh should get a fair hearing, but everything I know about his record leads me to conclude he is a bad choice for our country — one that needs to be vigorously fought. I may not have a vote in the Senate but I have an obligation to raise my voice on behalf of my constituents to speak out against this terrible nominee. Why is this nomination so concerning? Too many ways to count.

Name an issue you care about and it is at risk with this nomination. The Trump administration won’t defend the Affordable Care Act in court anymore even though it is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to defend federal laws. There is a good chance this case, which challenges many of the protections of the ACA, will make it to the Supreme Court and access to health care in this country will be in serious jeopardy. If you have a pre-existing condition like asthma, high blood pressure or a past cancer diagnosis, you should be worried.

If you support reproductive freedom and believe that Roe v. Wade is settled law, you should be very concerned. Candidate Trump promised he would only nominate judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade. We know Judge Kavanaugh voted to deny an immigrant in ICE custody access to an abortion. That gives us much more than a hint about how he views women’s rights in these matters.

Civil rights, voting rights, LGBTQ­ rights, the right to privacy and so many victories won with so much struggle in past decades are at stake with this nomination. We have made too much important progress on these issues to turn back now.

Judge Kavanaugh’s deep political ties concern me too. He was the main author of the Starr report on President Clinton and deeply involved in efforts to stop the 2000 Florida recount. In 2009, Judge Kavanaugh opined that a sitting president shouldn’t be subject to indictment because it would pose too much of a distraction from governing and moreover, shouldn’t even have to answer questions from law enforcement. That must have been music to Trump’s ears. His nominee to the highest court in the land thinks it’s the indictment of Trump that would be the distraction. Kavanaugh has predetermined that a valid indictment should go nowhere regardless of what illegal acts an indictment might uncover. That’s astonishing. The buck stops at the Supreme Court. If Trump gets to choose someone who has already decided he shouldn’t be indicted or subject to questioning, isn’t that as good as saying Trump is above the law?

The Supreme Court will almost certainly have a role in deciding at least some of the issues concerning the Trump family’s ethics violations and conflicts of interest and issues involving Russian interference in our elections. Given that reality, and for all the reasons laid out, this nominee should not be confirmed.

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