Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Lobbied for Appointment of John Yoo to 9th Circuit Court

Curt Wechsler  | September 8, 2018

The Trump nominee for U.S. Supreme Court believed the author of notorious memos providing legal cover for those torturing human beings would be great as a lifetime pick for Ninth Circuitreports Common Dreams staff writer Julia Conley on confidential emails released by Senator Cory Booker. The exchanges between Kavanaugh and Kyle Sampson occurred one day after the date of one of Yoo's torture memo drafts tweets journalist Mike Sacks: 

Kavanaugh referred to Yoo as his "magic bullet." Interpret that as you will, but I see this exchange as Kavanaugh's wanting to load up the judiciary with originalist, Unitary Executive folk; and as circumstantial evidence that Yoo knew the potential blowback for the torture memo.

"Judge Kavanaugh appears to have participated in a dark chapter of our nation's history during the Bush Admin's use of torture and cruel, inhumane treatment of prisoners - and he misled the Senate about it when he testified UNDER OATH in 2006," concludes Senator Tammy Duckworth. 

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But the collaboration of Kavanaugh and Yoo (see one such exchange at right) doesn't stop there. In another program of domestic terror -- surveillance of non-citizens visiting the United States -- the Supreme Court nominee holds that "critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program." Homeland Security agents now search cell phones and other electronic devices of people traveling internationally at a rate four times higher than in 2015. Former DHS Secretary John Kelly went so far as to say visitors to the U.S. should be required to give up their online passwords and submit to social media searches.

People concerned about government surveillance should be skeptical of Brett Kavanaugh urges Washington Examiner commentator Erin Dunne. "Americans who value their privacy and civil liberties should study his paper trail on Fourth Amendment cases. (A 2015 Court of Appeals opinion by Judge Kavanaugh found 'the Government's metadata collection program entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.') What they will find is a troubling record that points to a judge who is likely to side with vague justifications of security over liberty."

Critics of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh include at least one Republican Congressman. GOP Representative Justin Amash says Kavanaugh's 2015 concurring opinion creates "a rubber stamp for the executive branch."  

"If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will cement a conservative majority that is unlikely to restrict the government's unprecedented surveillance capabilities or preserve individuals' First Amendment rights online," says Center for Democracy & Technology strategist Lisa Hayes. "The Senate should reject Judge Kavanaugh's nomination."