Kavanaugh Has Argued For POTUS’ Right To Ignore Laws Seen As Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 09: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court during an event in the East Room of the White House July 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Judge Kavanaugh would succeed Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, who is retiring after 30 years of service on the high court. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has said in the past that Presidents have the right not to enforce laws they believe are unconstitutional.

CNN on Monday collected a series of assertions along those lines from Kavanaugh, including during a 2013 Q&A session at Case Western Reserve Law School.

Responding to a questioner who asked about signing statements, or presidential statements made when signing a bill into law, Kavanaugh said that if a president “says these certain provisions in here are unconstitutional, and we’re not going to follow those provisions, that is a traditional exercise of power by presidents.”

“If the President has a constitutional objection to a statutory mandate or prohibition, the President may decline to follow the law unless and until a final Court order dictates otherwise,” Kavanaugh said in an opinion the same year.

Republicans have requested documents related to Kavanaugh’s time in the White House counsel’s office during George W. Bush’s presidency, but not his time as staff secretary under the same president, despite Democrats’ protests.

While many presidents issue signing statements — President Donald Trump issued an angry one when he signed sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea into law last summer — Bush used them with more regularity, and a broader view of executive power, CNN noted.

“Understanding the nature of his involvement in those actions is absolutely critical to evaluating the type of justice he would be on the bench,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told CNN. “If Republicans continue to stonewall, the American people will wonder what they are hiding.”

Watch below:

Read CNN’s full report here.

Comments