Rand Paul

'Concerned' Rand Paul Isn't Sure How He'll Vote on Kavanaugh Confirmation

The Kentucky Republican is worried about Kavanaugh's record on the Fourth Amendment.


Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Citing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's record on privacy issues, Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) said Sunday that he has yet to decide if he'll vote to confirm the judge.

"I'm concerned about Kavanaugh," Paul said on Fox & Friends, alluding to the judge's views on the Fourth Amendment, which protects American citizens from "unreasonable searches and seizures." Paul explained that since President Donald Trump "did such a great job" with his first Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, he is keeping an "open mind" regarding Kavanaugh. But the Kentucky Republican is "worried" and "perhaps disappointed" that Kavanaugh may "cancel out Gorsuch's vote on the Fourth Amendment."

Paul referenced a 2015 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that affirmed the National Security Agency's right to collect telephone metadata without a warrant. In his concurring opinion, Kavanaugh wrote that "the Government's metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment" and that "critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy."

"I disagree completely," Paul said. "And I think if we give up our liberty for security, we may end up with what Franklin said, and that's neither—neither liberty nor security."

Paul said he's "willing to meet" with the judge to see how he would rule on other issues. "There are 10 rights…10 amendments listed in the Bill of Rights, and so the Fourth Amendment's one of them," Paul said. "So we're already down one, let's see how he does on the other nine."

Paul is not the only libertarian-leaning lawmaker to express concern over Kavanaugh's record on the Fourth Amendment. Minutes after Trump announced Kavanaugh's nomination, Rep. Justin Amash (R­–Mich.) called the judge a "Disappointing pick," adding that "We can't afford a rubber stamp for the executive branch."

But Paul's view is particularly important given the GOP's slim 51–49 majority in the Senate. If every Democrat votes against Kavanaugh, Republicans can only afford one defection. And if Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.), who's being treated for brain cancer in Arizona, can't make it to D.C. for the vote, Republicans might need their entire caucus, including Paul, to support him.

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  1. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    1. Gorsuch’s record in the lower courts was not nearly as outstanding as it is now.

      Do I wish Kavanaugh is more like Gorsuch? Absolutely.

      I have the feeling that Kennedy, being the douche that he is, demanded that Kavanaugh be the front-runner for his seat. Kennedy has fucked over America for decades, why not get his protege on the court so he can brag at DC cocktail parties.

      1. I suspected the same. His nurturing of a year-plus guessing game about his retirement and the fact that Trump’s staff felt the need to appoint several of his clerks to lower courts bolsters your suspicion that he was at least passively haggling with the administration.

    2. Art of the deal. Paul should use his vote at the least to get some other concession he wants.

    3. Throw out the baby, keep the water.

  2. I’ve never bought into the Rand Paul hype before now. As far as I could tell, he’s a “libertarian-leaning” politician who isn’t much better than the typical Republican on the two non-negotiable libertarian issues ? unlimited immigration and unrestricted abortion. With such fundamental deficiencies in his record, who really cares if he’s less enthusiastic about military intervention than, for instance, John McCain is?

    But if RP votes against Kavanaugh, my respect for him will increase a bit. Of course, even then I’d still rather see Gillibrand or Harris or Warren or Booker or Cuomo become President.

    1. Warren, seriously? I would think her being Indian, she would understand the dangers of unlimited immigration.

      1. nice

      2. OK, that is hilarious.

    2. Not sure if a parody or Matt Welch at this point

    3. Unlimited abortion and immigration are not non-negotiable libertarian issues you moron

  3. Rand talks a good talk, then rolls over and gets a belly rub from the GOP establishment, which right now is Trump…I don’t expect much from him

    1. That’s not his belly getting rubbed..,

  4. It depends on whether Kavanaugh needs his vote to or not, if Collins and Murkowski are on board than he votes against if they are against he’ll probably vote for.

    1. If Kav needs his vote, he’ll just tell him what he wants to hear and then after he receives the nomination, do whatever he damn well pleases. Kav and Paul know this is just political theater.

  5. Also wasn’t John McCain on his death bed months ago? Is he still jockeying for a rider on a bill or something why is he still a Senator?

    1. McCain is now the first cyborg senator

      1. I was gonna say first zombie senator, but then I remembered Strom Thrumond.

    2. He’s still a Senator because it allows him to deny the GOP a vote in the Senate. It’s just one last upraised finger for the party that should have expelled him decades ago.

      Kavanaugh’s best shot at being confirmed is that McCain croaks before the confirmation vote. Then he’d be replaced by the governor.

      1. Why should Republicans have expelled McCain? Did he expressly renounce bigotry or do something equally offensive to right-wing sensibilities?

        1. He’s advocated war with half of the world and was a cheerleader for mass death in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen, just to name a few places. Of course, this all pales in comparison to saying bad words.

          Carry on, numbskull

          1. He’s advocated war with half of the world and was a cheerleader for mass death in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen, just to name a few places.

            So he’s a…standard 21st century Republican.

            1. Or Democrat.

              To be fair there are a hell of a lot more anti-war Republicans in elected office since the Iraq War than there are Democrats. Tulsi Gabbard is a pariah within her own party. The same can’t be said for Rand

        2. “Did he expressly renounce bigotry…?” You really are a one act pony, aren’t you?

        3. And look what the cat dragged in.

  6. He’ll probably fall in line. He usually does.

    1. He did fall when that neighbor blind-sided him.

  7. I’d rather have the Repubs allow the Biden rule to be invoked in exchange for an amendment that says the Supreme Court can never have more than 9 or less than 7 members on it at one time.

    And in my fantasy world, ice cream is good for your health and people find me sexy.

    1. People find sexy when you eat ice cream if you lick it just so.

  8. A. Not as good a prospect as Gorsuch

    B. Better prospect than anyone Hiillary would have picked, and Trump could have picked much worse.

    C. Better to affirm now when good enough than after the midterms when even this much might not be possible.

    D. Dems likely to lose in the Senate because they have so many more seats at stake, so a rejection now might goad Trump into a better one later

    E. Or trump might be so pissed he takes the wrong hint and nominates some neocon deferentialist for the next one.

    On the whole, I’d vote to confirm, but it’s a tough one.

  9. Is he a traitor if he votes for or against?

    1. It’s Rand Paul, so in the eyes of Reason, no matter how he votes he’s a traitor

      1. It’s Rand Paul, so in the eyes of Reason the commentariat , no matter how he votes he’s a traitor

        Also applies.

      2. He’s a traitor to the cause that Reason doesn’t have. Paul’s views haven’t really wavered and Reason, who once called him the most interesting man in politics, has firmly latched on to calling every Republican with a libertarian idea libertarian-leaning, whether they deserve it or not.

        Paul’s a traitor to Reason’s… principled Weld/Flake 2020 stance.

  10. I’m glad I’m not in Rand Paul’s shoes.

    If he votes yes, he’ll be called a villain.

    If he votes no, and the next nominee is worse but gets confirmed with a few Democrat votes, he’ll be called a villain.

    1. Where “worse” = less bigoted, less backward, less superstitious

      Carry on, clingers.

      1. Like I commented above, a one act pony you are.

  11. Paul explained that since President Donald Trump “did such a great job” with his first Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch…

    At least he knows to butter the president up.

  12. In his concurring opinion, Kavanaugh wrote that “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment” and that “critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy.”

    Interesting that if he really believes the first part of that statement, then there’s really no need for the latter.

    It’s like saying what I’m doing is perfectly legal. Even if it wasn’t, it’s justified because I value it higher than the law.

    Given the importance of 4A at this particular moment in time, I’d prefer to hold out for someone who wouldn’t side with the rest of the conservatives on the court to completely trash it, and set up dangerous digital age privacy precedents.

    1. It is rather like NICS getting a pass for doing whatever they want and you find MaGeek doing a laptop dance in your living room. But practically speaking, is it not better to get a little bit of a devil now vs. much worse one in a few months? If he is ok on the other nine, 90% is way better than 60 or less. Just imagine what we would be parsing about had 2016 gone the way is was “supposed” to.

      1. I doubt if many libertarians or certainly conservatives would accept a candidate that was “iffy” on 2A. Meanwhile, that’s settled case law with precedent.

        4A really hasn’t been defined or applied yet in a digital age. I can’t understand why 2A would be a greater risk than 4A in this case. Why accept the 10% bad on 4A, when that’s where the courts are liable to make their biggest impact on liberty in the next several years?

  13. Rand Paul is just concern trolling here. He’s going to vote to confirm Kavanaugh like a good little Team Red player.

    1. I love how purity tests are always only applied to Rand.

      These are the same people who defended Gary Johnson against people who criticized him for running a soft progressive campaign. It’s almost like it doesn’t matter how Paul votes, because these people will find something, anything to complain about.

    2. I’m convinced that Rand has made 4A his personal hill to die on. I don’t think he’ll compromise on this one. Quite frankly if he has any inkling of a primary challenge in 2020, this would be one of the more popular positions that he could go after Trump on to expand the base into civil libertarians. This and ending foreign entanglements.

  14. I agree with and understand Senator Paul’s concerns, but Kavanaugh is a drop-dead lock to be confirmed.

    As I’ve explained several times already, Joe Manchin of West Virginia is absolutely going to vote “Yes” for confirmation, and anyone who doesn’t think this is the case, please feel free to go ahead and bookmark this right now. It’s also highly likely the Joe Donnelly of Indiana votes “Yes” as well.

    1. This would give Paul cover to vote no.

  15. I agree with Rand Paul.

    Question is what happens if the election goes Dem. Can they push through a 2nd nomination before January?

    National Review had a more sympathetic reading of Klayman, arguing that Kavanaugh was merely applying SCOTUS precedent. I think that’s a bit too generous.

    Cato lit him up

    1. I don’t know how the Republicans, in good conscience, could justify ramming through a SCOTUS nominee in the lame-duck Senate session after the stand they made against Garland.

      So yes, they’d probably do it.

      1. They’ll do it without even blinking.

      2. What kind of rainbow-farting unicorn fantasy world are you living in where you believe any political party does something in good conscience?

      3. The difference being it was s Presidential election year.

        At least, that’ll be what they say.

    2. Eugene Volokh had him as just peachy.

  16. Suppose the Senate rejects Kavanaugh because of the 4th Amendment, then the Democrats take over the Senate before another candidate can be confirmed.

    Then Trump will nominate — a 4th Amendment supporter?

    No, more likely he’ll nominate a judge who is acceptable to the Democrats. Someone who is squishy on the 4th Amendment *and* squishy on the rest of the Bill of Rights as well (except for made-up rights, (s)he’ll be solid on those).

    1. Democrat appointed justices are often better on the 4th. It’s the only amendment they seem to like but to be fair, they do tend to defend it.

      1. Sotomayor has been especially good on it.

  17. You could argue that some politicians purposely ignored the Constitutional protections to further keep slaves and other undesirables from exercising their rights.

    Why would all states be able to ignore the 2nd Amendment protection that all Americans have the right to keep and bear Arms. It would make the 2nd Amendment only be applicable in Washington DC.

    The 1st Amendment mentioning Congress as the only restricted government entity gets around state defamation laws. If your speech was national, you were protected by the 1st Amendment. If your speech was petty local harassment to destroy someone’s character, you could be sued for defamation.

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