July 12, 2018

More bad Kavanaugh moments

Intercept - Kavanaugh’s appellate court decisions and public comments suggest that he will accelerate the trend toward a political system dominated by wealthy elites — often operating in the shadows, without any form of disclosure.

Kavanaugh has wielded the First Amendment as a cudgel to unravel decades of laws designed to ensure that ordinary Americans are not squeezed out of the electoral process.

In the minds of conservative legal strategists, the First Amendment’s protections for free speech can be harnessed to justify virtually any intervention in politics. This expansive view of free speech has been used to oppose or undo any campaign finance regulation, any rule enhancing the political strength of organized labor, any requirement for donor disclosure, or any prohibition on the transfer of billions of dollars into the political system.

In decision after decision, Kavanaugh has embraced this theory and wielded the First Amendment as a cudgel to unravel decades of laws designed to ensure that ordinary Americans are not squeezed out of the electoral process by organized economic power.

At a March 2016 event at the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative Washington think tank, Kavanaugh was asked point-blank if he believes that “money spent during campaigns does represent speech, and therefore deserves First Amendment protection.” His answer: “Absolutely.”

Huffington Post - One substantial part of Kavanaugh’s record has received significantly less attention: a long series of opinions defending the (largely ineffectual) military commissions system that presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, along with Congress, created and oversaw to try the terrorism suspects imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

For a few years during the Bush administration, federal judges had repeatedly intervened to protect the rights of people detained at the prison camp. During his time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh opposed - and helped undercut - that trend. His efforts served to legitimize Gitmo’s kangaroo courts.

“There’s no one on the D.C. Circuit who has played a larger role in defending the legality of the military commissions than Judge Kavanaugh,” said Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who closely follows Guantanamo cases.

In theory, Guantanamo detainees can challenge the legality of their detention in federal court. But in practice, those courts have provided limited relief to enemy combatants. Civil liberties groups and detainee defense lawyers argue that the D.C. Circuit, where Kavanaugh has sat since 2006, is significantly to blame.

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