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Opinion >  Syndicated columns

Don Kusler: Kavanaugh pick is bad news indeed for health care, women, consumers and unions

By Don Kusler Tribune News Service

Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court, is a bad choice for most Americans.

His political, legal and judicial career is littered with activist ideological opinions out of step with the American majority and established law. His views on executive power related to legal issues alone are enough to reject his nomination.

As the vetting process begins in Washington, this nomination should get a careful and detailed review.

Supreme Court justices, when confirmed, serve life terms. A wise choice can be an amazing power for the incremental progress that has been the norm throughout our nation’s history. However, a poor choice will impede that tradition of progress and take the nation backward.

Unfortunately, Kavanaugh’s record suggests he fits into the latter category. In public statements and in judicial opinions, he has repeatedly expressed opinions that are counter to both established law and popular common sense policy positions.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Supreme Court could take health care back to a time when insurance companies denied coverage for pre-existing conditions and coverage costs soared even as care declined; back to a time when corporations had free rein over workers and consumers, damaging their lives and livelihoods – and back to a time when our essential resources such as water and air were freely open to polluters to do as they wished.

Other Kavanaugh opinions and rulings that should be of concern to any American interested in a just and fair society, include writing an opinion upholding a voting law in South Carolina that would deny voting rights to tens of thousands of voters and his curious belief that assault weapons bans are unconstitutional.

Perhaps the most disturbing opinions Judge Kavanaugh has expressed relate to executive powers of the president which, essentially, leave the president above the law.

These opinions include a view that a sitting president should never be able to be criminally indicted; that the president “should have absolute discretion (about) whether and when” he or she can be independently investigated, including deciding who the investigators are; and that any special prosecutor should be removable at will by the president.

This is an unacceptable set of positions for any judge being appointed by a president whose campaign, campaign associates, administration officials and perhaps even himself are under current investigation for their roles in Russian meddling in our elections and potential obstruction of justice by the president.

Should any person under investigation get to choose who investigates potential wrongdoing, hire and fire investigators at will, and then appoint a judge that might be ruling on any relevant case? Certainly not!

In fact, no president who is subject of a counterintelligence investigation should receive so much as a hearing for any nomination to the Supreme Court.

Our democratic and judicial systems demand that no action be taken until the investigation has taken its full independent course.

Only when that investigation is complete should the United States Senate move forward. Then, and only then, should the Senate consider the president’s nominee.

This means a full vetting of any nominee’s statements, judicial opinions and political career to ensure that we do not make a mistake that will haunt our justice system and way of life for decades to come.

There is simply too much at stake to rush a careful process, too much at stake on critical issues like health care and corporate power and too much at stake to play political games or allow anyone to be above the law.

If this common sense process plays out, the American people and their representatives in the United States Senate will soon conclude that Brett Kavanaugh is the wrong choice for the court and for our country.

Don Kusler is national director of Americans for Democratic Action, the nation’s most experienced progressive advocacy organization. Readers may write him at ADA, 1629 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006

Tribune News Service did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of TNS or its editors

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