Sen. Rand Paul announced today that he will support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Paul had said he was on the fence.
Most of us expected that Paul would back Kavanaugh in the end, but it’s good that he’s now on record and good that he didn’t drag out whatever suspense he might have created.
Sen. Paul said this:
After meeting Judge Kavanaugh and reviewing his record, I have decided to support his nomination.
No one will ever completely agree with a nominee (unless, of course, you are the nominee). Each nominee, however, must be judged on the totality of their views, character, and opinions.
I have expressed my concern over Judge Kavanaugh’s record on warrantless bulk collection of data and how that might apply to very important privacy cases before the Supreme Court.
In reviewing his record on other privacy cases like Jones, and through my conversation with him, I have hope that in light of the new precedent in Carpenter v. United States, Judge Kavanaugh will be more open to a Fourth Amendment that protects digital records and property.
Of course, my vote is not a single-issue vote, and much of my reading and conversation has been in trying to figure out exactly how good Judge Kavanaugh will be on other issues before the Court.
My conversation with Judge Kavanaugh reinforces my belief that he will evaluate cases before the Supreme Court from a textual and originalist point of view.
I believe he will carefully adhere to the Constitution and will take his job to protect individual liberty seriously.
On issues such as property rights and reining in the administrative state, Judge Kavanaugh has a strong record and showed a deep commitment during our meeting. His views on due process and mens rea show a thoughtful approach to the law and its applications. His views on war powers and separation of powers are encouraging.
Finally, his strong defenses of the First and Second Amendments in landmark cases show someone who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo and will fight with backbone. Judge Kavanaugh will have my support and my vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court.
If Kavanaugh receives the vote of every Republican Senator other than John McCain who is incapacitated, he can be confirmed without any Democratic support. Paul was one of three GOP Senators whose support seemed doubtful. Now, he’s on board.
Since we’re dealing here with Senate Republicans one can’t be sure that some other prima donna won’t get a bee in his bonnet and act as spoiler. However, I’d say that, barring the discovery of something adverse and major in Kavanaugh’s past, his chances of winning 50 Republican votes are good.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Sen. Joe Manchin became the first member of his caucus to meet with Kavanaugh. Nearly all Senate Democrats are taking the position that they will not meet until Republicans agree to their absurdly overbroad and dilatory document requests.
The meeting reportedly was lengthy, two hours or more by some accounts. How did it go? According to Bloomberg’s Laura Litvan, all Manchin would say afterwards was that “it truly was a very productive meeting and it helped me and my staff understand,” and that he’ll decide how to vote after the confirmation hearing.
By meeting with Kavanugh, Manchin has broken ranks with Chuck Schumer just enough to pacify his constituents, thereby buying himself time to see which way the wind is blowing in his state and whether any GOP Senators will vote against the nominee. My guess is that, again absent any surprising new information about Kavanaugh, Manchin will vote to confirm him.
UPDATE: More good news. Sen. Susan Collins tells CNN’s Manu Raju that she’s satisfied with the request for documents Sen. Charles Grassley has made in connection with the Kavanaugh nomination. That request does not include the massive amount of paper Kavanaugh handled as staff secretary for President Bush.