By Ralph Nader
Observers say that confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become President Trump’s second pick for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court will make the Court more conservative. It is more accurate to say Kavanaugh will make the Court more corporatist.
With Kavanaugh, it is all about siding with corporations over workers, consumers, patients, motorists, the poor, minority voters, and beleaguered communities.
Repeatedly Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions put corporate interests ahead of the common good—backing the powerful against the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless.
Apart from his declared views pouring power and immunity into the Presidency (which is why Trump wants him), Kavanaugh could be the most corporate judge in modern American history. Two meticulous reports on his judicial decisions, one by the Alliance for Justice (AFJ) and one by Public Citizen demonstrate that for him it’s all about corporations uber alles.
Here is AFJ’s summary:
Kavanaugh has repeatedly ruled against efforts to combat climate change and the regulation of greenhouse gases. He also repeatedly ruled against protections for clean air. He has repeatedly sided with the wealthy and the powerful over all Americans. He has fought consumer protections in the areas of automobile safety, financial services, and a free and open internet. Kavanaugh has also repeatedly ruled against workers, workplace protections and safety regulations.
Do you want him to be on the Supreme Court?
Kavanaugh is a corporate supremacist to a fanatic level of protecting corporate cruelty and greed. Giving him an unaccountable lifetime position on the Court will weaken our democracy and empower the corporate state.
What will he do when cases involve robots harming workers or consumers; corporate algorithms corkscrewing consumers; corporations turning the governments against their citizens; and corporate criminals being bailed out by taxpayers?
Fortunately, Kavanaugh gives us more than a clue from his many judicial decisions and dissents, especially with healthcare cases coming before the Court. Public Citizen’s factually-based report on Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions in split-decision cases provides insight into his judicial philosophy.
He ruled 15 times against worker rights, 2 times for worker rights. On environmental protection, he ruled 11 times for business interests and 2 times for the public’s interest. On consumer and regulatory cases, he ruled 18 times for businesses and 4 times for consumer protection interests. In the area of antitrust or anti-monopoly, he ruled 2 times for the corporations and zero times for market competition.
He seems to love government power when it is arrayed against the people, ruling 7 times for police or human rights abuses versus zero rulings for the victims. But he rules against government agencies when they are protecting the interests of the people over those of corporations.
Even more extreme, he does not like human beings to sue corporations or sue the government. But if you are a corporation, the courthouse doors are always open.
Kavanaugh rules like he is a corporation masquerading as a human. But in his introductory statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he wanted us to see him a regular guy, weirdly remembering the row and seat number at two professional sports games his father took him to as a child and listing all the names of his sixth grade daughter’s basketball team.
Shame on Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) for severely restricting the voices from civil society allowed to testify before the Judiciary Committee. No wonder Code Pink had to protest from the galleries.
Watch out for a cruel man with a folksy smile. Watch once again the Democratic Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee minimizing Kavanaugh’s bias for corporations— except for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Given the lives, injuries, and sickness at stake; given the dictatorially approved taxpayer-funded corporate welfare and bloated corporate contracts with governments draining the peoples’ necessities, given Kavanaugh’s mindless support for corporate dollars corruptly buying elections, maybe the motto against this awful nomination should be “Kavana-ugh!”
Ralph Nader is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney, noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism and government reform causes.