Judge Kavanaugh Ruled Against Public Interest 87% of the Time in Split Decision Cases
Back in June, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring from the bench. Though Justice Kennedy’s values leaned to the right, he was oftentimes the swing vote, joining between the four liberal justices on hot-button issues affecting the public interest. Following Justice Kennedy’s announcement, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to replace Justice Kennedy. The confirmation hearings of Judge Kavanaugh are currently stalled in the Senate following allegations of sexual assault. And while these allegations are deeply concerning, they are not the only reason to reconsider his nomination to the highest court in the country. Public interest groups are evaluating Judge Kavanaugh’s voting history and opinions in public interest cases, and have found his rulings to heavily favor corporate interests.
In “An Analysis of Judge Kavanaugh’s Opinions in Split-Decision Cases”, Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, found that during his 12 years on the bench, Judge Kavanaugh decided or wrote an opinion against the public interest 87% of the time in split decisions dealing with consumer, environmental and worker rights. Specifically, the report found that Judge Kavanaugh decided 15 times for employers and only two times for employees in the employment and workers rights area. On issues involving the environment, Judge Kavanaugh voted 11 times for corporations or against entities suing to block environmental protection, and only twice for the side of clean air and clean water. Likewise, in consumer cases, Judge Kavanaugh voted 18 times for the business and only 4 times for the consumers or the public interest. Finally, in all 7 split-decision cases dealing with police abuse or human rights issues, Judge Kavanaugh ruled against the victims and for the alleged abusers.
Judge Kavanaugh’s past rulings indicate that, should he be confirmed, he is not going to be the swing vote that Justice Kennedy was and he will not have the public interest in mind. The Code of Conduct for United States Judges requires judges to perform the duties of the office impartially. Though we expect impartiality from our judges, it is difficult not to see a pattern in Judge Kavanaugh’s history of ruling on matters involving the public interest. We can only hope that should Judge Kavanaugh be confirmed, he takes an impartial stance on all issues that come before the court, especially those involving the public interest.