One of the finalists to be nominated by President Donald Trump for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court has past statements arguing against legal accountability for the president, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported Monday.
Despite being a protégé of former Special Prosecutor Ken Starr, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is on record warning against legal indictment of a sitting president.
Judge Kavanaugh, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, wrote an article (PDF) for the Minnesota Law Review clearly laying out his views on the topic, which has increased relevance as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates the Trump administration.
Kavanaugh wrote his argument based on his “experience in the White House and the Justice Department, in the independent counsel’s office, in the judicial branch as a law clerk and now a judge, and as a teacher of separation of powers law.”
“The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas. Such an outcome would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis,” Judge Kavanaugh argued.
While Kavanaugh’s protection of the commander-in-chief may offer some degree of relief for the embattled administration, his main argument seems remarkably dated in the age of Donald Trump.
“First, my chief takeaway from working in the White House for five-and-a-half years—and particularly from my nearly three years of work as Staff Secretary, when I was fortunate to travel the country and the world with President Bush—is that the job of President is far more difficult than any other civilian position in government,” he argued. “The job and the pressure never stop.”
During the 535 days President Trump has been in office, he has spent 168 days at Trump properties and 125 days at Trump golf properties.
The president has spent 72 days at Mar-a-Lago, which he calls the Southern White House. He has spent 46 days at Trump National Bedminster golf course in New Jersey, 42 days at Trump International West Palm golf course and 35 days at Trump National Potomoc Falls golf course in the Washington, DC suburbs.
Kavanaugh was only confirmed as a judge after three years of stalled confirmation hearing.
The judge joined the George W. Bush administration after working on the 2000 Florida recount.
President Donald Trump has said he will be announcing his nominee to fill the seat of retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy during a Monday night televised address.