Brett Kavanaugh confirmed by Senate, sworn in as Justice

The vote was 50-48, along party lines except for one Republican and one Democrat. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) explained her vote in a widely noted speech [video and transcript]

Commentary: Politico symposium with Ilya Shapiro, Ilya Somin, and others; David French (pro) and Benjamin Wittes (con) views of confirmation; point-counterpoint on Kavanaugh’s final hearing testimony from David Post (critical of nominee), Eugene Volokh response, David Post rejoinder. Those intent on defeating Kavanaugh pushed too far and he pushed back, galvanizing conservatives, writes John Podhoretz [Commentary] And a completely different view of judicial temperament [Noah Feldman on cantankerous Court personalities]

Motivated reasoning? Yes, a lot of that going around [Ilya Somin on “the extremely high correlation between what people think of the allegations and whether they believe Kavanaugh should be confirmed aside from them.”] “On the Fallibility of Memory and the Importance of Evidence” [Tyler Watkins, Quillette] “It’s important to listen to those who come forward—and also to those accused.” [Emily Yoffe, The Atlantic]

P.S. And not to forget that the bulk of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing discussed issues of jurisprudence; Randy Barnett sums up discussions of originalism, colloquy with Senator Kennedy, unenumerated rights and more, on stare decisis and following precedents, and on the Fourth Amendment.


  • And not to forget that the bulk of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing discussed issues of jurisprudence

    Yes, the sexual misconduct allegations weren’t raised until the very end of the normal hearing, when it was clear that they wouldn’t be able to convince a single Republican to vote against Kavanaugh on the basis of his jurisprudence.

    The initial point of these allegations was not to convince any of the Republicans to vote against Kavanaugh, but to re-open the FBI background investigation in an open-ended way, thereby putting off any action on Kavanaugh’s nomination until the next session starts next year, with the expectation that the Democrats would retake control of the Senate in the November elections. Then they would have the votes to defeat his nomination or even be able to prevent it from coming to a vote.

  • If he’s half the character the opposition say he is, and adding in last week’s display of temper, he’s got the potential to be a hairy-chested throwback to the Jacksonian era. A welcome addition to the court.

  • Were I a senator, I’d have rejected him out of hand for the same reason I’d have rejected 6 other members of the court out of hand: there was already someone on the court with their degree from the same law school. I mean, they’re close emough in age that he probably had some of the same professors as Sotomayor. I don’t care what differences their ideologies create, one faculty shouldn’t have that much influence on the court members’ thinking.

    • Good point by Steve. One might think there are no law schools left other than Harvard and Yale.

      IIRC, there also aren’t any military veterans on the court anymore. I believe John Paul Stevens was the last one. That should be a consideration with future nominees.

      • I didn’t know that about Stevens and military service, John.

        While we’re on the subject of sameness-of-backgrounds, I think Thomas is the only one left with any meaningful state government experience – but as a state deputy AG, which is maybe a lot like the 4 or 5 who were in the Federal executive branch?