In July, President Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his latest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, confirmation hearings on the nomination will begin before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
His conservative judicial philosophy follows legal interpretations of the Constitution advocating that the text should be given the original meaning it would have had at the time that it became law. If confirmed, he would replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has been a swing vote in favor of abortion rights.
Here’s where Kavanaugh stands on some key issues:
Roe v. Wade:
This is the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Kavanaugh recently met with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who supports abortion rights, and told her he views Roe v. Wade as “settled law.” During 2006 hearings on his circuit court nomination, he declined to give his personal opinion on abortion but offered this: “If confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the court. It has been decided by the Supreme Court.”
Abortion rights for immigrants:
Recently, an appeals court voted to allow an abortion for a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant, while the Trump administration wanted to transfer her to a sponsor for guidance. In his dissenting opinion, Kavanaugh wrote that the majority was creating a “new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.”
He did add that “all parties to this case recognize Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as precedents we must follow.”
In 2011, the D.C. circuit court upheld a ban that applied to semiautomatic rifles in the District of Columbia. Kavanaugh dissented from the majority opinion, noting that the Supreme Court had previously held that handguns, most of which are semiautomatic, “are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens.”