On Monday, President Trump picked Brett M. Kavanaugh as his nominee for Supreme Court candidate. This caused a lot of controversies in the days leading up to and following his decision, with news outlets touching on matters such as who advised him in the selection process. However, many have also questioned whether or not Trump should have been allowed to pick a candidate in the first place, and how his criminal investigation and a potential subpoena will play into the decision of the new Supreme Court justice. This is a situation that has almost never occurred and has put the Senate into a dilemma. Some have wonder whether Trump should be taken to court before the justice selection.
Kavanaugh is already a pick that will cause concerns for many, especially liberals. As most conservative lawyers, he supports gun laws and freedom of religion. However, some of his ideals are especially worrying, since he supports the concept that a current president shouldn’t be forced to respond to questions in a criminal investigation. Such a specific and strong belief could create a clear bias towards the president in his current case.
Trump’s lawyers have constantly stated their belief that, if he were to be called into court, the team would still prevail and make a case for the president’s innocence. There is still a possibility that Special Counsel Robert Mueller III will decide to give the president a subpoena, and the subject would quickly move towards the Supreme Court. With Kavanaugh in one of the seats, it is uncertain whether or not he will be able to separate his usual ideals from Trump’s individual case. In fact, many Democrats have argued that the president’s candidate should promise to recuse himself from cases regarding Donald Trump.
Some have called this into question, since a judge’s recusal is usually related to a direct conflict of interest, rather than his previously stated political ideals and raised questions. Kavanaugh has previously worked in the investigation of President Bill Clinton, as well as the administration of President Bush as a staff secretary. What has raised concerns were his comments reflecting on his past experiences, in an article for the Minnesota Law review. There he stated:
I believe that the president should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office. Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation — including preparing for questioning by criminal investigators — are time-consuming and distracting. Like civil suits, criminal investigations take the president’s focus away from his or her responsibilities to the people. And a president who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as president.”
He did confirm that this process could and should be continued in the case that the President leaves office. Also, displaying his ideals on law enforcement regarding presidents doesn’t necessarily mean that he will apply those measures to Trump, as suspicious as it may look. Many have also doubted that he would be the decisive vote in such a situation, unlike his predecessor Anthony Kennedy.
There is also the belief that, if President Trump were to be forced by the Supreme Court to comply with the subpoena, the decision should be unanimous, as it was with President Nixon and President Clinton. Leaving a 5-4 margin with two Justices assigned by Trump himself would be a risky decision and one that would raise questions about the Court’s legitimacy.
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