Brett Kavanaugh on Government Reform
Dissenters argued that the Court's narrow reading weakened the law and disregarded its intent to address disparities in how election laws affect different racial groups. The rule discarding "out of precinct votes" impacted black and Hispanic voters, with Arizona leading the country in discarding such votes. Restrictions on vote collection makes voting more difficult for Native Americans.
Samuel Alito wrote the opinion of the Court. John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett concurred.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed that the challengers have "advanced forceful constitutional and statutory arguments" against the "categorical exclusion of all unlawful non-citizens," but said he wasn't sure that the government was going to go that far. He further noted that if the Trump administration ultimately chose not to exclude all illegal aliens, new challenges would inevitably arise.
"Alabama is again able to enforce laws that help ensure the fairness and integrity of our elections," Alabama's Republican Attorney General said. A District Judge issued a preliminary injunction after finding that Alabama's election rules will cause sick or elderly voters to "likely face a painful and difficult choice between exercising their right to vote and safeguarding their health, which could prevent them from casting a vote in upcoming elections." Alabama appealed the decision. The state argued that it would be confusing to change absentee ballot rules.
When Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California asked Kavanaugh if a sitting president could be compelled to respond to a subpoena, he declined to offer his views. "I can't give you an answer on that hypothetical question," he said.
In a 2009 Minnesota Law Review article, Kavanaugh had written that "Congress might consider a law exempting a President--while in office--from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel." In the same article, however, he noted, "If the President does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available."
That view, as Klobuchar noted, can limit regulatory safeguards on the job, environmental rules and consumer protection. [For example], Kavanaugh criticized a Labor Department move to sanction SeaWorld following the drowning of a trainer by an orca whale, declaring that the agency had "stormed headlong into a new regulatory arena."
Overall, his view is that agencies should exercise authority as clearly spelled out in federal statutes and that judges should not, as occurred in the SeaWorld case, defer to agency interpretations that go beyond what's explicit in a law.
In a 2010 case, Judge Kavanaugh wrote the opinion for a 3 judge panel that upheld limits on contributions to political parties which had been imposed in a 2002 campaign-finance reform law. He emphasized that the Supreme Court had already upheld those limits as consistent with the First Amendment and that the new case was sufficiently similar that "as a lower court, we do not possess the authority to clarify or refine" the Supreme Court's ruling.
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Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Ketanji Brown Jackson(nominated 2022)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
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