SHARE
Brett Kavanaugh was con­firmed as a Supreme Court Justice by the U.S. Senate on Sat­urday. Wiki­media Commons

Brett Kavanaugh will be Pres­ident Donald Trump’s greatest legacy. For the first time in gen­er­a­tions, the Supreme Court has a con­ser­v­ative majority. To cel­e­brate this new era of American pol­itics, Hillsdale should invite Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to speak at its 2019 Com­mencement.

Kavanaugh is an auda­cious choice for com­mencement speaker. Just like Hillsdale, Kavanaugh is a bulwark against pro­gressive lib­er­alism. This is why Democrats so ruth­lessly attempted to stop his con­fir­mation. Kavanaugh’s defense of his rep­u­tation and family amidst sexual assault alle­ga­tions is a great example of strength rejoicing in the chal­lenge. Nothing deterred Kavanaugh — not the Democrats’ obvious  delay tactics, Christine Blasey Ford’s uncor­rob­o­rated alle­ga­tions, or the activists clawing at the door as he was sworn in.

Kavanaugh embodies much of what Hillsdale as an insti­tution stands for. As a tex­tu­alist, Kavanaugh cares about the correct inter­pre­tation of the Con­sti­tution and he under­stands that gov­ernment exists to protect indi­vidual lib­erties. Though he often deferred to precedent in his deci­sions as a lower court judge, as a member of the Supreme Court he has said his only authority will be the Con­sti­tution.

Kavanaugh’s judicial record speaks for itself. Kavanaugh sided with Hobby Lobby in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, an important 2015 case in which the craft store argued that the Affordable Care Act’s con­tra­ception mandate infringed upon its reli­gious liberty. Kavanaugh has also shown his con­ser­v­ative incli­nation on financial reg­u­la­tions, school choice, and the Second Amendment.

Kavanaugh is com­mitted to the sep­a­ration of powers. For example, he is skep­tical of Chevron Def­erence, a 1984 precedent that says courts should defer to reg­u­latory agencies when inter­preting ambiguous laws instead of to Con­gress. Addi­tionally, during his tenure on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh was known for denying the Envi­ron­mental Pro­tection Agency’s attempt to reg­ulate when he believed it was acting without the autho­rization of Con­gress.

Kavanaugh also under­stands the proper role of the judi­ciary and will fight against the court’s ten­dency to usurp Congress’s  power by making laws instead of adju­di­cating them. In his opening statement at his con­fir­mation hearing he said, “In our inde­pendent Judi­ciary, the Supreme Court is the last line of defense for the sep­a­ration of powers, and the rights and lib­erties guar­anteed by the Con­sti­tution.”

Kavanaugh is not just a good judge, he is also a good man. After Kavanaugh accepted Trump’s nom­i­nation for the Supreme Court, he left the White House to serve the homeless at his local parish. Charity is part of his normal life routine, just as he coaches his daughter’s bas­ketball team and hangs out at a bar where he is simply known as Brett.

Moreover, Kavanaugh is an advocate for social change. As he told the Senate Judi­ciary Com­mittee, “A majority of my 48 law clerks over the last 12 years have been women.” Kavanaugh has sent more female law clerks to the Supreme Court than any other judge in the country. In a letter to the Senate Judi­ciary, his women law clerks wrote that he is one of the strongest advo­cates in the federal judi­ciary for women lawyers and the legal pro­fession is a more fair and equal place because of him. In an effort to con­tinue this trend, Kavanaugh is now the first Justice on the Supreme Court to have an all female staff of law clerks.

Justice Kavanaugh was humble throughout the con­fir­mation process. During the two days of ques­tioning, Democrats attempted to halt the pro­ceedings numerous times, and pro­testors inter­rupted 63 times on the first day alone. The protests were so dis­turbing that Kavanaugh’s wife had to remove his two young daughters from the hearings. Throughout all of this, Kavanaugh remained cour­teous.

It wasn’t until Democrats and activists assailed his per­sonal rep­u­tation and threatened his family that Kavanaugh’s demeanor changed. They attacked him in an area he is par­tic­u­larly proud of — his treatment of women. With little evi­dence, he was accused of heinous crimes. In his opening statement, he vac­il­lated between angrily accusing Democrats of ruining his rep­u­tation for par­tisan ends and choking back sobs as he denied any and all alle­ga­tions of sexual assault. Kavanaugh’s reserve during the first hearing made his assertiveness during the second hearing all the more important. He demon­strated that strength does not mean meekness. He proved that a man can be both mod­erate and coura­geous.

Having Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a com­mencement speaker would be a great honor to Hillsdale. His com­mitment to the Con­sti­tution, his char­acter, and his record as a judge all do him credit, and inviting him to Hillsdale would do this insti­tution credit. It would show stu­dents an excellent example of states­manship just as they prepare to begin their own careers, ones that will hope­fully mirror the integrity and audacity of Kavanaugh’s.

Krystina Skurk is a student at the Van Andel Graduate School of States­manship.