On Monday, Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, to replace retiring judge Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
If confirmed, the Supreme Court will now have a Conservative majority.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation will mean conservative rulings for what could be the next 30 years. Turning what is suppose to be the lawful and just branch of government into more of a partisan institution.
Trump’s nomination could also potentially have a negative effect on cases and rulings dealing with anti-discrimination laws, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights.
“What matters is not a judge’s political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require,” Trump announced on Monday, “I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.”
The reality is that Kavanaugh’s track record as a judge makes it hard to believe that he will put the law above a political party.
For starters, President Trump made it very clear that his nominee for SCOTUS justice would be someone on board with his agenda-driven desire of overturning the historic Roe v. Wade ruling. His pro-life rhetoric has been following him since his presidential campaign days and continued to follow him into his presidency.
In 2016, during the final presidential debate, Trump was asked if he would like to see the Roe v. Wade ruling overturned. His answer made it very clear that even before he was elected POTUS, his intentions were always to nominate judges with more of a partisan interest.
“Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on [Supreme Court] that’s really what’s going to be — that will happen,” Trump responded, “That will happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this it will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination.”
Last year, in a high-profile case, Kavanaugh voted against allowing a undocumented teen under federal custody the right to an abortion. According to a Business Insider article, Kavanaugh argued “that the majority ruling on the case “badly erred” in their decision to allow the process anyway.”
This could very well be the tone of SCOTUS rulings for decades to come.
Kavanaugh’s nomination could also mean bad news for anti-discrimination laws and good news for freedom of religion laws. During his time on the court, Anthony Kennedy was a crucial swing vote on gay rights rulings, like he was in the landmark 5-4 marriage equality ruling of 2015.
If confirmed, the conservative majority that Kavanaugh brings to the court could mean more rulings like the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission which sided with a Colorado baker who cited religious objections to refuse making a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Religious refusal exemptions embrace the dangerous notion that discrimating against LGBTQ people is a legitimate ask of both conscience and religion and have been a matter of importance for many state legislatures under the Trump presidency, mostly southern red states.
Kavanaugh’s nomination could blur the lines of separation of church and state on the nation’s highest court as well as the thin line between law and political partisanship.