Following the announcement by President Donald Trump that he chose Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to the nation’s highest court, the standard narrative of conservatives — including social conservatives — has been very positive.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, for example, released the following statement:
“For a second time, President Trump has followed through on his promise to select a nominee from the list he presented during the campaign. President Trump promised a constitutionalist – someone who will call balls and strikes according to the Constitution. We trust the president that Judge Kavanaugh will fit this mold as a justice. Judge Kavanaugh has a long and praiseworthy history of judging as an originalist, and we look forward to having a justice with his philosophical approach on the Court.
“From the day Justice Kennedy retired, the Left has sought to make this vacancy all about abortion – even though many other significant issues are at stake including religious freedom and free speech. Under the Obama administration, we saw a growing assault on religious freedom and the courts became a battleground for secularists seeking to remove faith from the public square. Judge Kavanaugh resisted this trend in at least two instances — an HHS contraceptive mandate case and in an opinion supporting inauguration prayers.
“We are committed to working with President Trump and senators to help move the grassroots to gain the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh,” concluded Perkins.
In spite of this overwhelmingly positive endorsement by this leading social conservative group, there is (at least) one social conservative group that has come out firmly opposed to Justice Kavanaugh.
The American Family Association (AFA) is calling on citizens to contact their senators and urge them to oppose this nominee.
In a statement obtained by USA Daily Chronicles, the organization stated:
“Judge Kavanaugh’s reasoning on religious liberty, Obamacare and issues concerning life have proven to be of major concern,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “For these and other reasons, we are calling on citizens to urge their senators to firmly oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court.”
The statement goes on: “Although Judge Kavanaugh decided correctly in the court case Priests for Life v. U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Services, he wrote a moderate opinion disagreeing with the priests on a foundational constitutional religious liberty principle.” In other words, although they liked Kavanaugh’s vote, they disagreed with how he came to his opinion and are concerned he would have different results in different (but similar) cases.
The statement goes on, “As a result of Obamacare, the faith-based organization Priests for Life and others argued that the government could not compel or force them to provide contraception and abortion-causing drugs for their employees. Kavanaugh unnecessarily conceded in his opinion that the government has a compelling interest to force religious organizations to provide contraceptives and abortifacients for employees. Kavanaugh’s concession created a dangerous precedent.”
AFA added that “there are also concerns with his opinion related to illegal alien female minors who are expecting but also seeking an abortion in the United States. It has also been argued that Kavanaugh provided the roadmap to uphold the Obama administration’s health care overreach at the Supreme Court.”
“Judge Kavanaugh is simply the wrong nominee—even a bad nominee,” Wildmon added. “Based on his written opinions, Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated a deficiency in a constitutional judicial philosophy of a limited judiciary. Some of his decisions may have been favorable, but several of his opinions contain problematic language.” That “problematic language” could impact future decisions as far as policy matters of importance to conservatives, the organization argues.