Court pick should make Trump voters happy

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2018

For Trump voters who held their nose when casting a ballot because he promised conservative Supreme Court picks, this week has been a good one.

Say what you will about the president (and we’ve said plenty), but he’s delivered on the one campaign promise that meant the most to a large chunk of conservative voters. For many, the make-up of the Supreme Court meant more than his vulgar comments, his lewd behavior, his dishonest statements, his divorces, or any of the other myriad issues that have risen.

They voted for Trump because they valued a conservative Supreme Court above all else. That might tell us something about the outsized power the Supreme Court enjoys.

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Trump this week nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh fits the bill for Trump supporters, the same as Neil Gorsuch did previously. Kavanaugh, like most of the court, was educated in elite schools that many conservatives despise. He’s spent his career in D.C. — again something conservatives pretend to hate. He is the embodiment of the Republican legal establishment.

But conservatives can look past that because his judicial record indicates he is likely to be a reliable conservative vote. Justices don’t always vote the way they are expected, however. Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by George W.  Bush, has at times voted with the liberal side of the court — though not often. He wrote the opinion that upheld the Affordable Care Act.

Though Trump has claimed Kavanaugh’s views on abortion did not factor into his selection, during the campaign he promised to pick justices that could overturn Roe v. Wade. And many conservatives are hoping Kavanaugh will help accomplish that.

But the court does not often throw out its own precedents, and even if it decides to revisit Roe, it won’t be Kavanaugh who is the deciding vote. It will likely be Roberts.

But it’s clear the court’s make-up once Kavanaugh is confirmed will provide the best shot at overturning the law. That should make Trump’s supporters happy with their decision to vote for him.