Sunday, July 8, 2018

Trump's Short List For the Supreme Court, and My Personal Pick


AFTER READING AND THINKING ABOUT THESE  CANDIDATES--- all outstanding judges--- this weekend,  I've changed my mind and now think, hope, Trump will select Judge Thomas Hardiman for the SCOTUS bench. He's right up Trump's alley. He's right up mine too. We'll see soon enough.

I think Judge Amy Barrett will have rough sledding getting confirmed.  I don't  care much for Kavanaugh, frankly.  Think he would be a wild card and a very unpredictable conservative. Think Kethledge is probably ruled out because of several controversial immigration rulings offensive to conservatives.

Meanwhile here are some summary write-ups of Trump's top four candidates via the Washington Examiner:

AMY CONEY BARRETT, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Barrett, 46, is a mother of seven children who Trump nominated to the 7th Circuit last year. Her confirmation fight catapulted her to stardom among conservatives after she faced questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., about the role her Catholic faith would play in her judicial rulings. During her exchange, the senator told Barrett “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.” She was ultimately confirmed by the Senate in October. Barrett graduated from Rhodes College and Notre Dame Law School. She clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman on the D.C. Circuit and Scalia on the Supreme Court. The jurist, though, has a relatively thin judicial record, having spent most of her career as a professor at Notre Dame Law School. If selected by Trump, Barrett is likely to face scrutiny from Senate Democrats for her views on Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act, as she signed a letter opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate and the Obama administration’s accommodation for religious institutions. She will also likely face questions about her academic writings, including at least one that focused on precedent.

THOMAS HARDIMAN, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Hardiman, 53, was a finalist during Trump’s search for a Supreme Court justice last year. If he is selected this year and confirmed by the Senate, Hardiman would add educational diversity to the Supreme Court, arriving as the only justice without an Ivy League degree. Hardiman graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University Law Center. Hardiman is the first member of his family to graduate from college and drove a taxicab to help pay for his law degree. Unlike the other contenders, Hardiman did not clerk for a Supreme Court justice. Hardiman served as a federal district court judge in Pennsylvania before he was tapped to the 3rd Circuit in 2006. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate in 2007. Hardiman served on the 3rd Circuit with Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, who reportedly advocated for his nomination behind the scenes. Through his tenure on the federal bench, Hardiman has had a conservative judicial record. He voted to strike down a New Jersey law requiring residents to show a “justifiable need” to carry a handgun in public, saying the measure “contravenes the Second Amendment.” He also joined the majority in tossing out the conviction of a man arrested during an anti-abortion protest. The three-judge panel on which Hardiman sat vacated the conviction “because it was obtained in violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.” Early in his career, Hardiman did pro bono work on behalf of immigrants and told senators in 2003 one case involving an immigrant from El Salvador seeking political asylum was “one of the most important cases I have ever handled.”

BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Kavanaugh, 53, has served for 12 years on the D.C. Circuit, considered the second most-powerful court in the country. He attended Georgetown Preparatory School, overlapping briefly there with Gorsuch. Kavanaugh went on to graduate from Yale College and Yale Law School. Following his graduation from law school, Kavanaugh held a series of clerkships, clerking for Judge Walter Stapleton on the 3rd Circuit and Judge Alex Kozinski on the 9th Circuit. He went on to clerk for Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Through his tenure on the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh has authored opinions in more than 280 cases as of the end of 2017, leaving him with an extensive record. Last year, he dissented in a case that paved the way for an illegal immigrant teenager to have an abortion. Kavanaugh warned the majority’s ruling was “ultimately based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand, thereby barring any government efforts to expeditiously transfer the minors to their immigration sponsors before they make that momentous life decision.” He also dissented in the 2011 case Heller v. District of Columbia, which challenged D.C.’s ban on semi-automatic rifles and required registration of all firearms. Kavanaugh said he believed the measure was unconstitutional. In 2016, Kavanaugh ruled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure was unconstitutional. Though Kavanaugh was an early front-runner, he faced criticisms from social conservatives for two rulings involving Obamacare, who said his opinions "upheld Obamcacare." That characterization, however, was refuted by others. In one case from 2011, Kavanaugh wrote in a dissent that under the Anti-Injunction Act, enacted in 1867, the court did not have jurisdiction in the case at the time. In the second case from 2015, Kavanaugh dissented from the denial of rehearing en banc, writing Obamacare complied with the Constitution’s Origination Clause, “but not for the reason articulated” by the D.C. Circuit’s three-judge panel. Kavanaugh, if nominated, would likely face questions from Senate Democrats about his time working for independent counsel Kenneth Starr during President Bill Clinton’s administration. He also authored a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review that called for Congress to enact a law allowing for civil suits and criminal investigations involving the president to be deferred while the president is in office.

RAYMOND KETHLEDGE, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Kethledge, 51, joined the 6th Circuit in 2007, receiving confirmation by the Senate via voice vote. The judge would, like Hardiman, bring educational diversity to the Supreme Court, having graduated from the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School. After graduation, he clerked for Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Before joining the federal bench, Kethledge worked for Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., and in private practice. Many conservative supporters have characterized Kethledge as “Gorsuch 2.0,” in part because of his judicial philosophy, but also because he, like Gorsuch, is an outdoorsman. Kethledge has garnered attention for a 2016 ruling in a case involving a Tea Party group that said it was improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service because of its political views. The three-judge panel of which Kethledge was a part ruled in favor of the group, and, writing the majority opinion, Kethledge criticized the IRS. He also joined the majority in a decision last year upholding a Michigan county’s practice of opening its meetings with a prayer. Like Gorsuch, Kethledge has criticized deference to executive branch agencies under the Chevron doctrine. Derived from the 1984 case Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Chevron doctrine says that courts should defer to executive branch agencies’ “reasonable” interpretation of a statute if it is ambiguous. In a speech at his alma mater last year, Kethledge said he believes Chevron deference “has created a sense of entitlement among executive agencies.” His writing was praised by the Wall Street Journal in 2014, as the newspaper deemed his opinion in a case involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “Opinion of the Year.”

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