RUTH MARCUS: Would a Justice Kavanaugh channel Rehnquist, Scalia?

RUTH MARCUS: Would a Justice Kavanaugh channel Rehnquist, Scalia?

Columnist Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post Writers Group. WASHINGTON >> Brett Kavanaugh describes Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he clerked and whose seat he has been tapped to fill, as his “mentor.” But Kavanaugh’s true judicial role models may be two other, significantly more conservative justices — William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia. As it happens, Kavanaugh gave speeches last year about each of them. To read them now is to get a glimpse of a future Justice Kavanaugh, and, let’s just say, he doesn’t look much like the justice he would replace. Speaking about Rehnquist before the American Enterprise Institute, Kavanaugh described the late chief justice as “my first judicial hero,” relating how, reading his opinions as a law student, “in class after class, I stood with Rehnquist.” Rehnquist, Kavanaugh said, “righted the ship of constitutional jurisprudence” during his 33 years on the court, “turning the Supreme Court away from its 1960s Warren Court approach, where the court in case after case had seemed to be simply enshrining its policy views into the Constitution, or so the critics charged.” Or so the critics charged. Kavanaugh is a careful judge, yet his remarks left no doubt that he is among those critics. On the notion of a wall of separation between church and state, he noted, Rehnquist “was central in changing the jurisprudence and convincing the court that the wall metaphor was wrong as a matter of law and history.” Rehnquist, he said, was “critically important in putting the […]

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