In our nation, the sound of gunfire echoes through our psyches. The overwhelming majority of people believe something must be done to curb access to weapons of mass murder.
Not so much Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. That troubles us.
Kavanaugh dissented from the majority in an appeals court decision that essentially banned the sale of semi-automatic AR-15 rifles in Washington, D.C. The decision was eventually overturned, meaning his dissent won the day. But that doesn’t mean he was right, especially as he noted that “labeling” an AR-15 as an “assault weapon” somehow was “offensive” to his sensibilities.
Kavanuagh will be criticized for opining that the rights of businesses supersede those of internet users; that regulatory agencies shouldn’t be allowed to regulate; that presidents should be impeached before being made subject to the laws of the land. But what disquiets us most is the thought a Justice Kavanaugh will thwart those trying to silence the sounds of gunfire in our schools, churches, universities and everywhere else people gather.
The views of other newspapers about the Kavanaugh nomination:
San Jose Mercury News – President Trump’s nomination ... is a disaster for the technology industry and the users of tech products. The DC Circuit Court judge’s positions on such critical issues as net neutrality, privacy, executive power and immigration are serious threats that could set back the tech world for decades. ... Say goodbye to equal access to the internet. Say hello to ISPs blocking, slowing down or speeding up online content at will in order to maximize profits.
Bloomberg View – The court is increasingly perceived as one more partisan outfit in a town that’s lousy with them. In a recent string of 5-4 decisions, Republican appointees all voted with the majority and Democratic appointees with the minority. Republicans are hoping Kavanaugh will prove to be a more reliable partisan than Anthony Kennedy, the justice he is slated to replace. ... Rather than fixate on an individual judge, senators should home in on the hazards of an increasingly polarized judiciary setting the rules for an increasingly polarized society.
Los Angeles Times – Given the number of fire-breathing right-wing judges that Trump had to choose from, he could have done a whole lot worse. No matter what Kavanaugh says ... he is likely to be opposed by most if not all Democrats, just as Justice Neil M. Gorsuch was last year when Trump nominated him to the seat that should have gone to Merrick Garland. ... These are the unhappy results of an increasingly bitter, increasingly partisan, increasingly dysfunctional judicial selection process.
Chicago Tribune – There was a time when court nominees were evaluated primarily on the basics: ability, experience, knowledge and temperament. All of us should evaluate Kavanaugh not on how he is likely to vote on abortion rights, the Second Amendment or affirmative action, but on more fundamental characteristics.
San Diego Union-Tribune – Barring some revelation ... this editorial board is strongly inclined to support Kavanaugh’s nomination. We have consistently backed qualified high court nominees from both Republican and Democratic presidents. Elections have consequences, and presidents deserve deference in choosing justices, Cabinet members and all senior posts requiring Senate confirmation. ... American politics has all too many score-settling partisans. The last thing this nation needs is one in a judicial robe.
New York Times – Americans who care about the court’s future and its role in the American system of government need to turn to the political process to restore the protections the new majority will take away, and to create an environment where radical judges can’t be nominated or confirmed. ... Winning the future depends on deliberate, long-term organizing in the present, even when – especially when – things appear most bleak.