Many pro-life and Catholic groups reacted with optimism about President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“President Trump has made another outstanding choice in nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, keeping his promise to nominate only originalist judges to the Court,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. She described Kavanaugh as “an experienced, principled jurist,” who has a “strong record of protecting life and constitutional rights.”
Catholic Medical Association President Peter T. Morrow called the justice “solid” on issues related to the protection of life. Morrow said that that President Trump “continue(d) to uphold his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court.”
Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster said that “Judge Kavanaugh will be an originalist Justice, committed to the text of the Constitution and to the rule of law, including legal protections for human life.”
Foster said that this nomination is a “seminal moment” for the country, and is a “crucial chance to shift the Court” to one that does not regard the judicial activism of the Roe and Casey decisions as their “legacy.”
March for Life’s Jeanne Mancini praised Kavanaugh as a “man of faith” and a “family man” who is “exceptionally qualified” for the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh “will no doubt serve as a fair, independent judge who will remain faithful to the Constitution,” said Mancini.
She noted that of the 20 percent of voters who cited the Supreme Court vacancy as their deciding factor for their vote, 57 percent of those went for Trump. Mancini believes that Trump satisfied those voters with Kavanaugh, “another Gorsuch-like nominee.”
At least some pro-life and religious liberty advocates, though, have raised concerns about Kavanaugh.
National Review Institute senior fellow David French wrote in the Washington Post that while the nominee is a very good choice, Kavanaugh’s record on some religious liberty issues raises questions.
“In Priests for Life v. Department of Health and Human Services, Kavanaugh wrongly held that the government had a ‘compelling interest’ in ‘facilitating access to contraceptives’ for employees of the specific religious plaintiffs in the case,” he wrote.
Kavanaugh’s decision was incorrect, French said, because “religious employers have broad latitude to limit their employees’ conduct, and the government has little legal authority to meddle in the organization’s religious mission.”
French also lamented that Judge Amy Barrett, who had been a potential nominee, was not chosen to fill Kennedy’s Supreme Court seat.
Nominating Barrett, French said, “represented a chance for an important cultural moment — an opportunity for the best of young professional Christians to face the worst of progressive antireligion bias and prevail on the largest possible stage.”
“It’s not just that Barrett is qualified; she is,” he wrote. “It’s that conservative Christians see her as qualified and a person they felt like they know.”
Those in favor of expanded abortion rights expressed more serious concern with Kavanaugh’s nomination.
EMILY’s List, which seeks to elect pro-choice women, criticized Kavanaugh for his past decision blocking an undocumented minor in federal custody from receiving an abortion.
“Trump promised to only nominate anti-choice Supreme Court justices,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock in an email, “and now he’s kept that promise.”
New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, himself Catholic, tweeted that he was concerned that Kavanaugh is “an extreme conservative who would overturn Roe v. Wade the first chance he got.” For these reasons, Cuomo said that Kavanaugh “cannot be allowed to join the Supreme Court.”