Word on the Street: Student Leaders React to Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

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Grace James
Contributing Writer

On July 9, President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This decision came in the wake of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, who had served on the Supreme Court for 30 years.

Brett Kavanaugh is being hailed as an “establishment” pick with a solid conservative background throughout his history as a judge. He went to Yale for both his undergraduate and law degrees and worked as a clerk for Justice Kennedy from 1993 to 1994. He was later appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2006.

This nomination has been highly praised by leading Republicans including Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. Here at UD senior John Gomez, president of UD College Republicans, also had a positive response.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record shows he is someone who will interpret the Constitution as it was originally written, protecting the rights and principles this nation was founded on,” he remarked.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are concerned about how this new conservative Supreme Court could affect existing and future rulings. Junior and UD College Democrats president, Thomas Pedrotti, worries the nomination “will likely lead to the rolling back of many key protections for Americans including the rights of women, the LGBTQ+ community, and others.”

A key issue that has been discussed since the nomination is Roe v Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Many pro-life individuals are happy with the nomination because they believe Kavanaugh aligns with their values.

Victoria Karutz from Flyers for Life, UD’s pro-life club, is optimistic.

“I have every hope that Brett Kavanaugh will stand up for the right to life of each human person,” she said.

Another widely-discussed topic has been how the potential new court will react to the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia.

Junior Maggie Ward from Mock Trial noted this subject could be influenced by Kavanaugh’s nomination going forward.

“Because this type of issue has no established precedent, this is something a more conservative justice could influence,” she said.

President of Feminists United, junior Bailey Johnson, is especially worried about how this could disrupt the Mueller investigation.

“I think the most dangerous opinion of Kavanaugh is his argument that Congress should enact a law that prevents a sitting U.S. president from being investigated while in office,” she said.

For clarification of Kavanaugh’s position on this issue, here is a helpful Washington Post article.

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While both sides have very different opinions of Judge Kavanaugh, Republicans and Democrats hope he will serve on the Supreme Court in an objective and non-partisan way.

“Even though Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president, they are distinguished individuals and are not the president’s pawns or henchmen,” Gomez noted.

Ward echoed this sentiment, saying, “A lot of decisions made by courts prioritize judicial precedence over political ideology.”

When Kavanaugh accepted his nomination, he summed up his judicial philosophy in one simple sentence: “A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law.”

As to how, or if, this philosophy will translate onto the Supreme Court bench, only time will tell.

Kavanaugh now faces an upcoming public Senate hearing and needs at least 51 votes to become the 114th judge to serve on the Supreme Court.

Photo taken from Wikipedia Commons.