On Monday night, President Donald Trump announced his nomination to the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy was Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh, 53, serves as a Court of Appeals judge for in D.C., and previously served as a former aide to President George W. Bush. He also worked for Kenneth Starr during the investigation of former President Bill Clinton.
Trump’s pick has been vetted by conservative groups the Federalist Society and the Family Research Council, which backed him during his nomination to the D.C. Circuit in 2005.
Tony Perkins, who heads up the FRC, has soured on him a bit, due to a recent ruling where he sought compromise between the Trump administration and an undocumented immigrant in federal custody who sought an abortion. Kavanaugh wrote an order for the three-judge panel that gave the administration 11 days to find a U.S. guardian for the woman so an abortion could be obtained without the government’s involvement.
“That issue is something that would be raised in this that could dampen to a degree, and I say to a degree, the enthusiasm,” Perkins told The Daily Caller.
Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch before him, does not have a record on LGBTQ issues to give insight into how he might rule on such cases.
He did, however, rule in favor of so-called “religious liberty” in a case involving faith-based groups seeking an exemption to providing contraception, writing that “the regulations substantially burden the religious organizations’ exercise of religion because the regulations require the organizations to take an action contrary to their sincere religious beliefs.”
Conversely, he also wrote that Supreme Court precedent “strongly suggests that the government has a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of these religious organizations.”
In 2011, he dissented from a majority decision upholding a ban on semiautomatic rifles in D.C., arguing they “are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens.”
“If confirmed, Brett Kavanaugh will have the chance to codify President Trump and Vice President Pence’s dangerous anti-LGBTQ record and the agenda of anti-LGBTQ groups into law for decades to come,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, in a statement. “Like Neil Gorsuch before him, Kavanaugh is an ideologically driven pick designed to create an activist Supreme Court that will undermine rights and protections for women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and all vulnerable people.”
“Donald Trump isn’t just picking his own judge—he’s picking his own jury,” National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said in a statement. “Judge Kavanaugh would be a clear rubber stamp for this administration’s direct attacks on transgender people. Whether hearing a case about the hateful ban on our brave troops or the heartless attack on transgender students, you can be sure Kavanaugh will move heaven and Earth to protect both this President’s wrongdoing and his wrong-headed policies.”
Kavanaugh now faces Senate approval. He will need 51 votes, the exact number of seats the Republicans currently hold. His nomination is expected to be approved.