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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

A Good Nominee

July 16, 2018
Weekly Columns
Less than two weeks ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court after three decades of service. Appointed by President Reagan in 1988, Justice Kennedy was one of the court’s conservative voices, though in recent years he has been the deciding “swing vote” in many high-profile cases. Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, then candidate Donald Trump made it one of his campaign promises to appoint a justice whose judicial philosophy would emulate that of the late Justice’s. After fulfilling his promise with the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch last year, President Trump now has another opportunity to appoint a justice equally committed to the preservation of our constitution.
 
During his campaign, President Trump released a list of twenty-five names from which he would select his Supreme Court nominee. This list includes some of the brightest legal minds in our country and was extensively vetted, then reviewed after Justice Gorsuch's nomination. After Justice Kennedy’s announced his retirement, President Trump returned to this list to choose the next appointment. After much thought, the President chose to nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is a “judge’s judge,” the kind of man who will apply our laws as written and adhere to an original understanding of the constitution. He is an exceptional choice who will decide cases based on an original understanding of the constitution, not personal policy preferences.
 
Judge Kavanaugh is an upstanding jurist and American with an outstanding legal mind. After graduating from Yale Law School at the top of his class, he was one of Justice Kennedy’s clerks. Judge Kavanaugh excelled in the legal profession but took his service to the White House as an aide to President George W. Bush. After leaving the Bush administration, he was appointed to the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 with bipartisan support. As a visiting professor at Harvard Law School hired by Justice Elena Kagan in 2008, then the dean of the law school, he displayed an unmatched dedication to the law and his students.
 
Judge Kavanaugh will apply the law as written while also bringing the kind of depth of understanding of the law and constitution that is required of all Supreme Court Justices. In the past he has remarked, “A judge’s job is to interpret the law and not make policy.” I appreciate Judge Kavanaugh’s strong pro-life background and advocacy for religious freedom, evident in his dissenting opinions which highlight the importance of the government’s legitimate interest in life and in maintaining freedom of religion. These opinions reflect that Judge Kavanaugh’s service on the D.C. Circuit Court has made a lasting impact on jurisprudence.
 
In addition to his stellar legal record, Judge Kavanaugh is a family man who serves his community, coaches basketball, brings meals to needy families and tutors children at local elementary schools. In his nomination speech, he spoke affectionately of his mother who inspired his legal career and his two daughters. Judge Kavanaugh is not only an incredibly qualified nominee but also a man of integrity and service.
 
As we are in an election year, Judge Kavanaugh will no doubt face a long confirmation process, though it would be difficult for Senate Democrats to question the credentials of such a stellar selection. He was confirmed with bipartisan support to a federal bench back in 2006, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do so again. Judge Kavanaugh will serve the Supreme Court well with his sound judgement and commitment to faithfully interpret, not change, the Constitution.