Do Judicial Nominees Need to be forthright?

06 September 2018

The Senate is holding hearing on the confirmation of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. In recent years, hearings on judicial nominations have become elaborate pieces of theater. In this case, it’s Republican Senators lobbing softball questions to the nominee, Democratic Senators protesting the late-night dumping of tens of thousands of documents written to or by Kavanaugh, and the nominee bobbing and weaving and refusing to clarify his thinking about pertinent legal issues.

Meanwhile, various citizen groups have protested that Kavanaugh appears to have a distinctly pro-corporate, anti-individual; anti-environment worldview. Public Citizen notes that “On U.S. Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh Sided With Corporations 87 Percent of the Time in Split Decisions in Key Areas,” and Greenpeace has gone on record as noting that “Kavanaugh Could Do Irreparable Harm to Our Climate and Democracy.” These groups express the well-founded fear that, for the next generation, Kavanaugh could weaken laws which protect individuals (like tort law), and instead, rule as he has in the past, in favor of corporate interests. Given the nominee’s refusal to state his thinking clearly, and his refusal to answer “hypotheticals,” it is difficult to fairly assess his worldview; and determine whether he will an advocate for individuals, or beholden to corporate interests.

Law Question of the Week

Does the American Public have a right to have Judicial Nominees answer questions fully and forthrightly, so that our Senators can assess the Judicial Nominees’ views, before confirming them to lifetime appointments?
[poll id=”3″]