Senate Democrats and some of their far-left interest-group allies don’t seem to be on the same page about how to evaluate Supreme Court nominees.
In 2009, during the Judiciary Committee hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) rejected the idea of evaluating a nominee’s judicial record by looking at which parties win or lose or which political interests are advanced. In fact, he said that judges must decide cases based on what the law requires, not on their personal empathy, even if it means ruling against a “sympathetic litigant.”
The oath of judicial office required by federal law reflects the same idea, obligating a judge to “administer justice without respect to persons” and to discharge judicial duties “impartially.” Kavanaugh took this oath when he joined the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2006.
The folks at Public Citizen, however, have just released an analysis of Kavanaugh’s opinions on the U.S. Court of Appeals that does not meet the Schumer Standard.
Public Citizen says that they wanted to “avoid concerns about cherry-picking.” That’s what they say, but in fact the group examined only “split decisions,” ignoring the unanimous ones. That cut out about one-third of Kavanaugh’s opinions. Among those split decisions, Public Citizen considered what it calls “regulatory and business cases.”
The bottom line is that this “analysis of Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions” considered fewer than 20 percent of his opinions. But Public Citizen was not finished picking the cherries. For some reason, the group’s definition of “regulatory and business cases” included cases involving “police abuse and human rights violations.” What?
This piece originally appeared in National Review