Even if it wasn’t spoken outwardly amidst the clinched-teeth “Yay Kavanaugh” smiles on the right, there’s no denying the disappointment felt by most staunch conservatives (and particularly conservative Christians) who had hoped President Trump would take advantage of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy to name a conservative stalwart to the Court.
This was, after all, Robert Bork’s rightful seat – a post denied to the eminently qualified, constitutional conservative by a cabal spearheaded by a different Kennedy named Ted. Ironically, Robert Bork died in 2012, meaning that former President Obama would have had the opportunity to fill this vacancy. How fitting if Trump would have nominated a Bork-clone to fill it for the next half-century.
And that’s what most conservatives hoped they would be getting with the anticipated nomination of 7th Circuit Court judge Amy Coney Barrett. The dream of finally righting the greatest constitutional wrong in American history known as Roe v. Wade – a decision so egregious and contemptible it has led to the unjust annihilation of nearly 50 million Americans – seemed far less a pipe dream with Barrett on the Court. While it’s doubtful that Chief Justice Roberts has the judicial integrity to rightly decide a Roe appeal, Barrett’s voice, particularly as a woman, could have gone a long way to persuade him.
Instead, Trump opted for the exceedingly uninspiring choice of George W. Bush-approved D.C. Circuit judge Brett Kavanaugh. Perhaps this is the nominee Trump believed had the best chance of emerging from the coming confirmation circus. Perhaps pro-abortion Republican Senators had quietly informed the President that they would not support Barrett. Perhaps this was Anthony Kennedy’s choice, an agreement Trump brokered to secure his retirement this term.
No one knows for sure, but there was a noticeable sense of deflation on right-wing Twitter last night when word leaked that Kavanaugh was in a black sedan being escorted by Secret Service to the White House. But if the obsessive opposition research being conducted by leftists is any indication, conservatives may not end up being overly disappointed after all.
According to the Axios ranking (a spinoff website of Politico):
Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, would have the second most conservative score (0.693) on the bench if confirmed, next to Justice Clarence Thomas (0.725), per a measure that scores judges on a liberal-conservative spectrum
And that seems to be the paranoid left-wing legal beagles as well. Former Clinton, Schumer, and Eric Holder aide Brian Fallon tweeted his dismay over the pick:
Kavanaugh: praised *dissent* in Roe / Criticized Roberts ruling on Obamacare / Says sitting POTUS can’t be indicted/can fire special counsel whenever he wants / Opposes net neutrality / Opposes consumer bureau / Says assault weapon bans are unconstitutional
And while most conservatives and conservative Christians are (rightly) focused on the abortion holocaust plaguing the country – the American Family Association actually sent out a call for their followers to oppose the nomination – Kavanaugh has established a solid reputation on matters relating to religious freedom and the First Amendment.
On the right, conservatives are hoping for the next Scalia. On the left, they are praying for another coup like they got with Souter. Still others suggest he could be another Roberts or even Kennedy. But the truth is that no one knows, and likely won’t know until the court opinions start coming down from Justice Kavanaugh.
And that’s why there is palpable, even if ultimately misplaced, consternation and disappointment amongst conservatives: we don’t know. And with Barrett we would have known.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that she’ll still get her shot sometime in the next couple years.