Kavanaugh should be appointed
BridgeND | Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Too often people focus on how decisions in the government affect important issues and ignore how decisions might impact the most important issue: upholding democratic institutions. With a sense of childish hubris, we assume that democracy is not fragile and institutions do not require constant reaffirmed support. To deny Brett Kavanaugh a confirmation would be to succumb to the overwhelming partisanship of Washington and allow the civility of the court system to deteriorate. The impartiality of the Supreme Court has already been undermined by turning the confirmation requirement into a simple majority rather than a two-thirds majority, suggesting that the ruling party has earned the right to put in a biased advocate. The nonpartisanship of the court has also been called into question by the idea that when the other branches sink to unproductive partisan squabbling, the courts should actively pursue policymaking and should decide cases based on the national sentiment. But just as referees do not make calls based on the reaction from the bleachers, judges are not policymakers. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is not a referendum on his personal political views and whether they align with the country’s.
Judges are not politicians, they answer to no moral plea or constituency, they are merely advocates of the Constitution. Just as referees worship the rulebook, judges decide cases not on their own beliefs, not on which team they want to win, but based on the Constitution.
Yes, he dissented from a decision to uphold a ban on semiautomatic rifles in D.C. And yes, he wrote that independent agencies like the EPA have too much unchecked power. But the truth is it doesn’t matter how you, personally, or members of the Senate feel about those issues. It doesn’t even matter how Kavanaugh feels about his interpretation of the Constitution. What matters is that he is impartial and qualified. That’s why we hold confirmation hearings. Having taught at the country’s most prestigious law schools, written in some of the country’s most influential law reviews (including Notre Dame’s), clerked for Justice Kennedy and sat on the Court of Appeals for over a decade, Kavanaugh is undoubtedly qualified, whether we like it or not. So regardless of how one feels about his decisions, Kavanaugh should be appointed for the sake of upholding a sacred institution, for the sake of preserving nonpartisanship in the court system, and for the sake of making America civil again.
Bridging the Gap
Sophia Sheehy is a sophomore majoring in economics and ACMS, with a minor in constitutional studies. She serves as an officer for BridgeND. BridgeND is a bipartisan student political organization that brings together people from all across the ideological spectrum to discuss public policy issues of national importance. They can be reached at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.