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Thursday round-up

As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination reaches its 10th day, it continues to generate interest. Jeffrey Jones presents the results of a Gallup poll: A “four-percentage point margin [in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation] is slimmer than any Gallup has measured in its initial read on 10 prior nominees since 1987,” with the average margin being 23 points. At the same time, Scott Bixby of the Daily Beast reports that “[p]rogressive groups are falling behind in the war over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee—and they’re barely trying to catch up.” Additional coverage comes from Matt Vespa for Townhall. Kevin Daley of The Daily Caller reports that a “left-leaning advocacy group, which plans to spend millions opposing Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, has obscured its funding sources through an opaque organizational structure.”

Manu Raju of CNN reports on remarks by Kavanaugh about “his desire to overturn a three-decade-old Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel,” a comment Raju predicts will “get renewed scrutiny,” although Raju adds that whether “Kavanaugh views Mueller’s appointment and investigation itself as unconstitutional is unclear, given the special counsel works directly for the Justice Department under a different set of rules that governed the independent counsel.” At Daily Kos, Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter-Poza suggests that the “more telling part of the video clip is Kavanaugh’s slippery discussion of stare decisis, the principle that a court should almost always adhere to precedent.”

Kavanaugh’s experience in the White House under President George W. Bush’s administration also attracts attention. Michael Kranish of The Washington Post reports that “Senate Democrats have never fully accepted Kavanaugh’s answers to questions about one of the Bush administration’s most controversial policies, [its torture policy and treatment of detainees,] and now they are prepared to resurrect the issue as Kavanaugh faces a hearing as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.” Steven Mazie, at The Economist’s Democracy in America blog, notes a watchdog organization’s pending request under the Freedom of Information Act for Kavanaugh documents and comments that “[i]t would be better if the records came to light before senators vote to confirm him to a lifetime appointment shaping American law.”

Additional commentary on Kavanaugh’s views and what those imply for the future of the court and the nation comes from Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times on reproductive rights and Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress on voting rights. Alia Wong of The Atlantic covers Kavanaugh’s private-school upbringing—if Kavanaugh is confirmed, a majority of the court “will share an experience that is foreign to most Americans: that of attending one of the nation’s private high schools.” Two posts for this blog examine Kavanaugh’s views: Amy Howe looks at abortion and Michael Livermore reviews environmental cases.


  • In an op-ed for Los Angeles Times, James Lindgren and Ross Stolzenberg make a case for term limits for Supreme Court justices.
  • Michael S. Rosenwald of The Washington Post reports on Chief Justice Warren Burger’s “Extreme Court Makeover,” beginning in 1969, and how “rearranging furniture can make the world a more cordial, neighborly place.”
  • At Justia’s Verdict, Sherry Colb “focus[es] on the strange status of curtilage in Fourth Amendment law,” following this term’s decision in Collins v. Virginia, in which the justices held that the automobile exception to the warrant requirement does not permit a warrantless search of a motorcycle parked in the driveway of a home.

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Recommended Citation: Andrew Hamm, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 19, 2018, 11:08 AM),