Kavanaugh: An ‘illegitimate’ nomination?
It would be “insane” for Democrats to let Republicans rush Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, said Dahlia Lithwick in Slate.com. President Trump’s former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen last week “all but implicated” the president “as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to violate federal campaign finance law” during the 2016 presidential campaign. With special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation closing in on the White House, “the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency” is in question. So Republicans—who blocked President Obama from filling a vacant Supreme Court seat for 11 months—have prioritized seating Kavanaugh “before the Trump presidency collapses in upon itself.” Kavanaugh’s nomination should be stopped for a more important reason, said Jason Sattler in USA Today. He is on record as saying presidents should be immune from subpoenas and indictments, and he believes the Supreme Court case that forced President Nixon to turn over incriminating tapes “was wrongly decided.” Kavanaugh’s “extraordinarily permissive views on executive power” make him “the worst possible nominee at the worst possible moment.”
There’s nothing “illegitimate” about Kavanaugh’s nomination, said David Harsanyi in TheFederalist.com. No Democrat questions the legitimacy of Justice Stephen Breyer, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton while the president was under investigation by independent counsel Ken Starr. Investigations are not convictions, and do not strip the president of constitutional powers, said Guy Benson in TownHall.com. “Nobody would seriously argue” that Mueller’s investigation “somehow prevents Trump ordering military action” as commander in chief.
Democrats may not have a strong enough case to block a vote on Kavanaugh, said Claire Finkelstein in TheHill.com. But they have good reason to insist that Kavanaugh recuse himself from any case involving Trump and the special counsel. Kavanaugh’s previous “expressions of support for unfettered presidential authority”—including the right to fire special prosecutors—“were surely attractive to Donald Trump” as he considered the list of possible nominees. To speed Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the GOP should agree on his need to recuse himself from a Mueller vs. Trump showdown. Surely, even Republicans “should object to a sitting president using his Supreme Court nomination powers to immunize himself against scrutiny of his own misdeeds.”