Here Are Five Facts About Trump's Top Supreme Court Candidates That Should Chill You to Your Core


President Donald Trump will reportedly announce his next nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, July 9 at 8 p.m. eastern time—and as he promised, that nominee is likely to be very far to right both economically and socially. The three main contenders, according to Vox, are Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge—one of whom could be replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who recently announced his retirement after 30 years and will be leaving the High Court at the end of July. Trump has made it clear that his Supreme Court nominees must be hard-right social conservatives in the vein of Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, and Kavanaugh, Barrett and Kethledge all fit that description.

Here are some troubling things about Trump’s top Supreme Court contenders.

1. Brett Kavanaugh Is a Kenneth Starr Protégé

Kavanaugh, now 53, has enjoyed a very close relationship with right-wing attorney and GOP partisan Kenneth Starr, working with him under President George H.W. Bush and later, during Starr’s investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Whitewater real estate deal. Starr’s animosity for President Clinton was obvious, and during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, his investigation led to Clinton’s impeachment. Given Kavanaugh’s long association with Starr, there is little doubt that he would move the Supreme Court even further to the right both socially and economically.

2. Amy Coney Barrett’s Association with the People of Praise

Social conservatives will find much to like about the 47-year-old Barrett, who is said to be a member of People of Praise—a Catholic revivalist group in which members swear an oath of loyalty and offer one another advice on personal life decisions. Although some far-right Protestant fundamentalists can be anti-Catholic in their views, they might be willing to overlook Barrett’s Catholicism if she sides with them on abortion and would be willing to overturn the Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision. 

3. Raymond Kethledge Favors Credit Checks for Job Applicants

Kethledge, 51, is currently a federal judge for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he can be as far-right on economic issues as he is on social issues. In 2014, Kethledge wrote an opinion upholding the use of credit checks to screen job applicants—a practice Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has been vehemently critical of and would like to outlaw. Warren has argued that job applicants’ credit scores are irrelevant to their ability to perform a job well; Kethledge obviously disagrees.

4. Kethledge Helps Right-Wing Groups Dodge Taxes

To far-right ideologues—especially religious ones—having to pay one’s fair share of taxes amounts to persecution. And in a case alleging that right-wing political groups were being persecuted by the IRS, Kethledge was clearly on the side of the former. Kethledge’s possible nomination comes at time when Trump has made it clear that he believes fundamentalist Christian groups have an unfair tax burden, even if they’re bringing in considerable profits.

5. If Nominated, Kavanaugh, Barrett or Kethledge Could Be on the Supreme Court 30 or 35 Years From Now

The fact that Kavanaugh, Barrett and Kethledge—like Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch—are all Gen-Xers is not unimportant. Trump has stressed that he would like to nominate justices who, potentially, could still be on the Supreme Court 30 or 35 years from now. And if Kavanaugh, Barrett or Kethledge were approved by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and lived as long as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 85, they could be handing down far-right Supreme Court rulings in 2050.

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