Posted 14 days ago
This profile had a bit too much click-bait associated with it. Coppins blatently asks the question, "Is Justice Kavanaugh out for revenge?" I think that's a little unfair, to be honest, and I think meant to spark controversy on social media rather than a serious contemplation over if he really is really looking for it. But once we get across the obvious click-bait, the profile is a very good one.
It's apparent that many progressive dreams of change in law and government will come down to a Supreme Court decision of the "constitutionality" of policy. Coppins says that "any judicial victory that liberals hope to achieve in the coming years will likely require winning over the justice whose nomination they fought most ferociously to defeat." This is fairly true, but as Evan Osnos wrote in a short column in The New Yorker, even the threat of changing the composition of the Court will push Justices to potentially change their decisions. As Coppins says herself, Justice Roberts really cares about the "independent" nature of the Court, and it seems like he will play ball with an executive and legislative branch seeking reform as not to destroy the judicial's reputation and authority.
That being said, Kavanaugh is obviously a crucial piece of the puzzle. He is Republican, and certainly more conservative than he is liberal, but he is also centrist in attitude. He has looked to appease both sides and make well-educated decisions. As Coppins writes:
The other liberal women on the bench followed Kagan’s lead. Sonia Sotomayor gave an interview in which she welcomed Kavanaugh’s arrival: “This is our work family, and it’s just as important as our personal family.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg praised her new colleague at an event in Washington as “very decent and very smart.” These comments upset some on the left, but they had a strategic purpose. The liberal justices knew Kavanaugh wouldn’t vote with them on a regular basis, but they hoped they could pick off his vote occasionally, when it mattered. Having a relationship would help.
There are colleagues of his that say Kavanaugh "is trying to be the conservative that people don't hate." Coppins believes this is all true, but she questions whether or not his hearing could have made him bitter and more entrenched in the Right. It would be hard for him not to, honestly, when this like this happened:
The wounds from the confirmation hearings were still fresh; everybody was still angry. So when he had to withdraw from his teaching position at Harvard Law School amid protests—despite his sterling student evaluations—he was stung, but told everyone he understood the situation.
Some say he could have become imbittered, others say he is merely waiting out the storm. Coppins says that "time is one thing a 56-year-old Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment has plenty of. I personally don't think that he would be out for revenge, that is so petty for somebody occupying one of the country's most prestigious offices. I did appreciate the profile on his past and potential options for the future, though.