Law Professor Urges Congress to Stop Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court Nomination Process as Threat of Trump's Impeachment Looms
Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor of law and expert on the Constitution, argued in a new Washington Post op-ed Friday that the Senate should pause the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court given that the specter of President Donald Trump's potential impeachment looms over the proceedings.
He argued that the stakes are too high to let the hearings proceed since cases central to impeachment may find themselves decided on by the court.
So ... imagine a Trump appointee to the court — one named as impeachment clouds were gathering and seemingly selected with a presidential eye focused sharply on his pro-presidential writings — casting the deciding vote in a future case against Trump, involving an issue such as the president’s obligation to comply with a subpoena to testify or the president’s amenability to indictment.
If that doesn’t sit right with you, you’re not alone: It didn’t sit right with the framers, either.
The framers didn't anticipate that the court would become such a partisan institution, Tribe argues, and they didn't foresee that an "increasingly broad and unwieldy law-enforcement and investigative apparatus" would require the court to intervene more often in potential impeachment-related investigations. These changes make the court much more problematically involved in the political process of impeachment.
The court has one minimal function in impeachment: the chief justice is directed to preside over the trial in the Senate. Letting a president at clear risk of impeachment appoint a justice — and one that is known to have excessively pro-executive views — is a bridge too far, Tribe argued.
"As a result, with Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings set to begin just as pressure to impeach President Trump palpably mounts, the framers’ attempt to guard against the court’s bias has failed," Tribe wrote."The Senate can and should act to protect the framers’ design."