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In It to Win It

(8,501 posts)
Thu Jan 25, 2024, 02:05 PM Jan 2024

What's Going On With Brett Kavanaugh? [View all]

What’s Going On With Brett Kavanaugh?

On Monday, the Supreme Court affirmed the federal government’s supremacy over the states, a principle established explicitly in the Constitution, enshrined by centuries of precedent, and etched into history by the Civil War. The vote was 5–4. Four dissenting justices would have allowed the state of Texas to nullify laws enacted by Congress, pursuant to its express constitutional authority over immigration, that direct federal law enforcement to intercept migrants crossing the border. These justices would have allowed Texas to edge ever closer to a violent clash between state and federal forces, deploying armed guardsmen and razor wire to block the president from faithfully executing the law.

It was no surprise that three of these dissenters—Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch—sided with Texas, given their overt hostility to the Biden administration’s immigration policies, which verges on rejecting the president’s legitimate right to govern. It was, however, deeply alarming to see who joined them: Brett Kavanaugh, the justice who expends tremendous energy assuring the nation that he is reasonable, moderate, and inclined toward compromise. Kavanaugh’s vote on Monday was none of those things; it was, rather, an endorsement of a state’s rebellion against federal supremacy.

Really, though, should we be shocked that Kavanaugh sided with the Texas rebels over the U.S. president? Maybe not. After spending his first few years on the bench role-playing as a sometimes-centrist, Kavanaugh appears to be veering to the right: His votes over the past several months have been increasingly aligned with Alito and Thomas rather than his previous ally, Chief Justice John Roberts. This shift is still nascent, but it grows more visible with each passing month. And it bodes poorly for the country as we careen toward an election that Donald Trump openly seems to hope the Supreme Court may rig for him.

Start with that jaw-dropping vote on Monday. It’s difficult to overstate how dire the situation had become in Eagle Pass, Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott mounted his insurgency against the federal government. Migrants frequently cross over at Eagle Pass, so Border Patrol has a major presence in the area. Federal law grants border agents the right to access all land within 25 miles of the border and requires these agents to inspect and detain unauthorized migrants. Yet Abbott defied these statutes: He ordered the Texas National Guard to erect razor wire at the border, a barrier that ensnared migrants (to the point of near death) and excluded Border Patrol. Federal law enforcement was thus physically unable to perform the duties assigned to it by Congress, or to rescue migrants drowning in the Rio Grande. In response, border agents began cutting through the wire, prompting Texas to sue. The far-right U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit dutifully issued an injunction prohibiting any federal destruction of the wire fencing.

The 5th Circuit’s injunction effectively allowed Texas to nullify federal law, in direct contradiction of the Constitution’s supremacy clause. Some of the oldest, most entrenched Supreme Court precedents forbid states from interfering with the lawful exercise of federal authority. It should have been easy for SCOTUS to grant the Biden administration’s emergency request by shooting down the 5th Circuit. Instead, the justices spent a baffling 20 days mulling the case—and, presumably, debating it behind the scenes. In the end, all the court could muster was a 5–4 order halting the 5th Circuit’s injunction, with Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining the liberals. There were zero written opinions. The dissenters, including Kavanaugh, felt no obligation to explain their votes.
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What's Going On With Brett Kavanaugh? [View all] In It to Win It Jan 2024 OP
Ribbit, ribbit... rubbersole Jan 2024 #1
He likes beer. lastlib Jan 2024 #2
+ struggle4progress Jan 2024 #10
Send your tank you card to UpInArms Jan 2024 #3
Just drunk and needs a punching bag Farmer-Rick Jan 2024 #4
The Subversive 6 are not interested in the Constitution, law, or logic, just ideology. Hermit-The-Prog Jan 2024 #5
they are the ACTIVIST COURT repukes are always screaming about Skittles Jan 2024 #17
Is anyone surprised Sky Jewels Jan 2024 #6
The grooming process is nearly complete. 2naSalit Jan 2024 #7
When JFK got elected Republicans worried he would be controlled by the Vatican. Now SCOTUS is just that! TheBlackAdder Jan 2024 #8
Well spotted. Ain't that the truth... Hekate Jan 2024 #16
Kind of indeed! DFW Jan 2024 #21
Quite a few years ago, when there were fewer of them on the High Court, I read some articles Hekate Jan 2024 #22
Wrong question. soldierant Jan 2024 #9
HOW is anyone "shocked"? HelpImSurrounded Jan 2024 #11
Kavanaugh is too lazy for the energy involved in making a decision. jaxexpat Jan 2024 #12
Justus Beer Bong Weenie-Waver just boofs out his decision. Hermit-The-Prog Jan 2024 #18
Message auto-removed Name removed Jan 2024 #24
The goal of the court is to create chaos Hope22 Jan 2024 #13
Remind him that the President has unlimited powers? LiberalFighter Jan 2024 #14
Same as it always was relayerbob Jan 2024 #15
What's going on with Brett Kavanaugh drmeow Jan 2024 #19
Bushies are what they are. czarjak Jan 2024 #20
So I could see the Commander in Chief ignoring the supremes if it came to that. BComplex Jan 2024 #23
The only surprise to me is Amy C Barrett. She's been on the edge before. flying_wahini Jan 2024 #25
Question- if it ever did come to this can Gov Abbott order the Texas National Guard to shoot at the Feds? flying_wahini Jan 2024 #26
Oh brother. Really? Kavanaugh is one of the guys! KPN Jan 2024 #27
He's drunk again Jilly_in_VA Jan 2024 #28
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