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Kavanaugh Going Up, DC Circuit Down?

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 10, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

With nearly 300 decisions, Judge Brett Kavanaugh had a productive run at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

But no good deed goes unpunished, and some of those decisions may become stumbling blocks when the Senate reviews his record during the confirmation process. It's not like any one will prove to be his undoing, however.

As most pundits have predicted, he will become the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The question here is, how will he fit in as he leaves the DC Circuit?

Stumbling Blocks

President Trump said Kavanaugh was the most qualified choice among his top candidates for the High Court. After 12 years on the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh had the most experience on a federal appeals court.

However, he had his share of controversy on the bench -- notably on decisions involving Obamacare. He dissented from a decision upholding Obamacare's individual mandate, and he argued in dissent that an Obamacare mandate for contraception coverage infringes religious rights.

Having set a conservative legacy at a federal court dominated by Democrat appointees, Kavanaugh faced hundreds of protestors who had already gathered at the Supreme Court as the president announced his nomination. Senator Bernie Sanders was there to cheer them on.

"Are you ready for a fight?" he asked them. "Are you ready to defend Roe vs. Wade?"

Roe v. Wade

Kavanaugh ruled in one abortion case last year, dissenting from majority rule that the government cannot prevent an undocumented teen from getting an abortion. His opinion will likely resurface in the confirmation hearing.

"[T]he government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion," he wrote.

Ultimately, Trump nominated Kavanaugh to cement his own legacy in building a conservative Supreme Court. Based on his record, Kavanaugh should fit in nicely.

However, he will leave a vacancy on the DC Circuit. Had Trump picked someone else, he could have altered the balance there, too.

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