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Trump nominates 53-year-old Kavanaugh

President Donald Trump announces his Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, to fill the seat created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement.

Posted: Jul 10, 2018 4:58 PM
Updated: Jul 10, 2018 5:31 PM

President Donald Trump announced on Monday his decision to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's decision to retire.

Kavanaugh, 53, currently serves as a judge on the powerful US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Here's where he stands on some hot-button issues:

Roe v. Wade

Kavanaugh has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. In 2006, Sen. Chuck Schumer, now the Senate Democratic leader, pressed Kavanaugh on his personal opinion on Roe, but he declined to answer, saying, "I don't think it would be appropriate for me to give a personal view on that case." The exchange took place during a hearing to consider Kavanaugh's nomination to serve on the DC circuit.

Kavanaugh did say, however, that if he became a judge on the circuit court, he would uphold Supreme Court precedent with respect to Roe. "If confirmed to the DC Circuit, I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the court. It has been decided by the Supreme Court."

Because he was a swing-vote in favor of abortion rights, Kennedy's departure from the court has sparked alarm among abortion rights activists that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. In addition, Trump has long vowed to appoint justices who would reverse Roe and allow states to determine whether abortion should be legal.

Abortion

One of Kavanaugh's opinions likely to draw scrutiny from senators is a his dissent from a ruling of the DC Circuit last October that an undocumented immigrant teen in detention was entitled to seek an abortion.

In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote the Supreme Court has held that "the government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion." He wrote that the high court has "held that the government may further those interests so long as it does not impose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion." He said the majority opinion was "based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in US government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand." He added, however, that "all parties to this case recognize Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as precedents we must follow."

Religious liberty

Kavanaugh's opinion in a case involving a challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to the Affordable Care Act's so-called contraceptive mandate, Priests for Life v. HHS, has also drawn scrutiny. In a dissent, he expressed sympathy for the religious challengers. Making reference to the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, he wrote 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."

In a line that has attracted some conservative criticism, however, Kavanaugh also wrote in his dissent 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."

Separation of powers and executive branch authority

In his time on the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh established a reputation as a skeptic of regulatory action supported by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration.

In 2012, he argued in a dissenting opinion that the EPA "exceeded its statutory authority" in a case challenging the agency over the regulation of greenhouse gases. In a separate 2014 opinion, Kavanaugh was again critical of the EPA, writing, "In my view, it is unreasonable for EPA to exclude consideration of costs in determining whether it is 'appropriate' to impose significant new regulations on electric utilities."

In a decision suggesting broad skepticism of agency power, Kavanaugh dissented when the DC Circuit upheld the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, run by a single director, earlier this year, writing, "The independent agencies collectively constitute, in effect, a headless fourth branch of the US Government. They hold enormous power over the economic and social life of the United States. Because of their massive power and the absence of Presidential supervision and direction, independent agencies pose a significant threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional system of separation of powers and checks and balances. To mitigate the risk to individual liberty, the independent agencies historically have been headed by multiple commissioners or board members."

Separately, in a 2009 Minnesota Law Review article, he wrote that "Congress might consider a law exempting a President -- while in office -- from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel." In the same article, however, he noted, "If the President does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available."

Second Amendment

In 2011, Kavanaugh dissented from a majority opinion of the DC Circuit that upheld a ban that applied to semiautomatic rifles in the District of Columbia.

In his dissent, he wrote that the Supreme Court had previously "held that handguns -- the vast majority of which today are semi-automatic -- are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens."

Citing a previous high court ruling, Kavanaugh went on to say, "It follows from Heller's protection of semi-automatic handguns that semi-automatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that DC's ban on them is unconstitutional."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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