Kavanaugh wouldn’t say

Kavanaugh is being very deferential to Trump.

Justice Neil Gorsuch called President Trump’s personal attacks on federal judges “demoralizing” during his confirmation hearing last year. “When someone criticizes the honesty, the integrity or the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening,” Gorsuch said, adding: “I’ve gone as far as I can go ethically.”

Not very far, but far enough for Trump to fly into a rage and talk about withdrawing the nomination. (He had to be talked out of it.) Kavanaugh is being way more prudent.

The president’s second nominee for the Supreme Court demurred, for example, when asked whether it was appropriate for Trump to say that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “mind is shot” when he called for her to resign.

“I’m not going to get within three Zip codes” of answering that question, he replied.

Kavanaugh wouldn’t say if it’s okay for Trump to say that the Justice Department should not prosecute Republicans because it will hurt their chances of holding the House in the midterms.

He also refused to say that it was inappropriate for Trump to insist that Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t fairly adjudicate a fraud lawsuit against Trump University because he is the son of Mexican immigrants. Speaker Paul Ryan once called this “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

One way to view this is as a potential justice being carefully apolitical. Another way is to view it as being way too loyal to his benefactor (who happens to be a blatant criminal on a national scale).

But the nominee’s steadfast unwillingness to even mildly distance himself from Trump’s sustained attacks on the third branch of government, despite being given dozens of opportunities to do so by senators in both parties over the course of 24 hours in the hot seat, means that the question lingers of how independent he’ll be once confirmed to the highest court in the land.


Several Democratic senators expressed concern that Trump did not add Kavanaugh — widely known in legal circles as an outspoken critic of investigations into sitting presidents — to his list of potential Supreme Court picks until last November— six months after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.

“In this age of President Donald Trump, this expansive view of presidential power takes on added significance,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Because Trump has chosen a justice who will be ruling on any case to do with Trump’s immunity from prosecution. The state of play seems to be that no matter what Trump has done – even if evidence turns up showing that he has committed mass murder – he gets a pass as long as he’s president, and Republicans refuse to remove him as president for any reason whatsoever.

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