Background Briefing: July 10, 2018
Did Trump Choose Kavanaugh as Insurance Against Mueller?
We begin with Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh and whether he was chosen by the president as insurance in Trump’s fight for self-preservation. Caroline Fredrickson, President of the American Constitution Society where she focuses on judicial nominations, joins us to discuss her article at The New York Times “Will Kavanaugh Provide Cover for Trump?” We assess how much Brett Kavanaugh’s 2009 law review article in which he advocated that Congress consider a law exempting a president from criminal prosecution, swayed Trump. And whether some kind of loyalty assurance was given that if and when the Supreme Court has to rule on a Mueller indictment, or Trump’s claim he can pardon himself and his underlings under investigation, Kavanaugh would rule to protect Trump.
Kavanaugh the Corporatist
Then we discuss the future of workers’ and consumers’ rights in a 5-4 Supreme Court with a conservative majority in lockstep with the Republican agenda as it furthers the empowerment of corporations and the protection of “corporate rights.” Gigi Sohn, who served as a counselor to former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and is a distinguished fellow at Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, joins us to discuss Kavanaugh’s May 2017 dissent opposing net neutrality in favor of corporate “First Amendment” rights. We consider whether the most important question for Democrats to ask in the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings is if we want a Supreme Court stacked with corporatists who are opposed to workers and consumers.
How to Make Sure Senators Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly Don’t Vote for Kavanaugh
Then finally we look into the religious right’s opposition to Kavanaugh’s appointment given Trump’s slighting of Amy Barrett, the Catholic fundamentalist championed by Vice President Pence and Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Sarah Posner, an expert on the intersection of religion and politics and author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, joins us to discuss her article at The Nation, “Will Brett Kavanaugh Pass the Religious Right’s New Litmus Test?” We assess what strategy the Democrats could pursue to make sure the Democratic Senators who voted to confirm Gorsuch– Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly–will oppose Kavanaugh’s appointment.