By Steve Flowers
The appointment of a United States Supreme Court Justice is one of the most profound legacies that a U. S. President can achieve. The opportunity that President Donald Trump was given to appoint Neil Gorsuch to the High Tribunal last year will be a monumental achievement of the Trump administration.
The chance to name a second Supreme Court appointment will be a colossal legacy for the Trump presidency. The appointment of two seats on the Supreme Court has given Trump an indelible place in U.S. presidential history.
The leftist detractors of the Trump presidency are moaning. However, the conservative base of American politics has got to be rejoicing with hallelujahs. The quiet, conservative Americans who voted for Trump probably never realized how impactful their vote for Trump was in November 2016. For within less than two years after casting that vote, they will have placed America on a more stable conservative path for not only the rest of their lives, but possibly for the next generation.
President Trump’s appointment and subsequent confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to replace the deceased Antonin Scalia was a profound choice. However, his selection of Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring jurist Anthony Kennedy is equally brilliant. If Trump does nothing else during his tenure in the White House, if you are a conservative American, Trump’s presidency has been a rousing, overwhelming success.
When the last votes were counted in November 2016, and it became obvious that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton, conservative Americans were exuberant. Many had turned out to vote for one reason. The possibility of naming a conservative to the Supreme Court was their primary reason for voting for Trump. The naming of two within two years was beyond their wildest dreams.
With the conclusion of the eight-year reign of the liberal Obama era and Trump’s defeat of Clinton, President Obama made one last simple, profound statement, “Elections have consequences.” That epitaph has become prophetic.
The court had been drifting leftward out to sea with the two extremely liberal Obama appointees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, coming on board. However, the “Supreme Court Ship of State” has taken a turn to the right under the helm of Captain Trump.
Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent selection. He has impeccable credentials. He is only 53 years old, which means that he will be a sensible mainstream conservative voice of the court for probably three decades.
Brett Kavanaugh’s resume reads like a profile of someone born to be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Like most Supreme Court members, he graduated from a prestigious Ivy League Law school. He is a product of Yale undergraduate and Yale Law School.
Kavanaugh was the favorite for the appointment from the beginning. He was always on the top of Trump’s short list and the choice of the Republican legal establishment in Washington. He is a former law clerk of the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Although Kennedy had been appointed by Republican Ronald Reagan, he was considered the one moderate on the court. There are four bona fide liberal justices and four stalwart conservatives.
Kennedy was the swing vote in the middle. Trump’s appointment of Kavanaugh will replace a swing vote on the nine-member court with a staunch conservative.
Kavanaugh served in George W. Bush’s administration and has been a distinguished jurist in the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit for over a decade and has written more than 300 opinions.
Therefore, his record as a jurist has been thoroughly reviewed and scrutinized. He is looked upon as a top legal scholar and strict constitutional adherent with a record of following judicial precedence.
Kavanaugh will be confirmed along pretty much the same partisan lines as Gorsuch. Trump is blessed with a Republican majority Senate. Leader Mitch McConnell will put the confirmation hearings on a fast track and have Kavanaugh approved by the end of October, prior to the mid-term elections. The Republicans have a thin 51-to-49 majority. All 51 Republican Senators appear to be on board for confirmation. Our Sen. Richard Shelby has given a big thumbs up to Kavanaugh.
In addition to the 51 Republicans, Kavanaugh is expected to pick up four Democratic Senate votes of moderate Democrats from red states.
The big question is how does our new accidental anomaly, Democratic Sen. Doug Jones vote.
He is considered a longshot to win in 2020. However, a yes vote on confirmation could give him a glimmer of hope. A no vote would guarantee his not being elected to a full term.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us