Free Minds & Free Markets

Brett Kavanaugh Is a Done Deal. Will He Be Good for Libertarians?: Podcast

SCOTUS scholar Damon Root says Trump's nominee still hasn't answered pressing questions about government snooping and unchecked executive power.

Alex Edelman/picture alliance / Consolidated/NewscomAlex Edelman/picture alliance / Consolidated/Newscom

"It's been a circus," says Reason Senior Editor Damon Root of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Even before the hearings officially commenced, Democratic senators called for a halt to the proceedings. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released confidential documents and likened himself to Spartacus, a self-promoting act of "civil disobedience" that mostly earned the likely 2020 presidential candidate tons of Twitter abuse.

In the latest Reason Podcast, Root, the author of Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court, regrets the lack of smart questions from senators and candid answers from Kavanaugh. Root says the D.C. Circuit judge has at times ruled as a strict majoritarian, which is troubling from a libertarian perspective. A former member of the Bush administration, Kavanaugh has also written positively of wide-ranging executive privilege in ways that are especially disturbing during a presidency as embattled as Donald Trump's. We talk about all that, plus the history of confirmation hearings and why they are now so heavily scripted rather than open-ended conversations about judicial philosophy and temperament. Root expects Kavanaugh to be confirmed along strictly partisan lines.

Related: "5 Questions for SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanugh," by Damon Root. His blogging and other Reason coverage of the hearings is here.

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Photo Credit: Alex Edelman/picture alliance / Consolidated/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Jerryskids||

    Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released confidential documents and likened himself to Spartacus

    You mean the slave named Spartacus? That's raaaaacist!!! You don't get to use that term, only *we* get to use that term.

  • Shirley Knott||

    It's also cultural appropriation.

  • Juice||

    only *we* get to use that term


  • Cy||


  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    I liken him to the straight man in a Vaudeville routine.

    Highlights of the Booker/Lonegan debate

  • Tony||

    If nobody else says they're Spartacus, then you aren't having an "I am Spartacus" moment.

  • ||

    Where are the Red and Yellow Tony's to chime in when you need them?

  • OverWandersTelcon-tarian||

    Attending remedial sensitivity training classes, probably.

  • Red Tony||

    I'm right here, one and a half hours late.

    Yellow Tony is probably orgying.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That's never stopped him from commenting before.

    Also, back to your old name?

  • Red Tony||

    At the moment, yes.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    "It's been a circus,"

    I'm shocked!

  • ||

    I'm shocked!

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    From Slate: For women, Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing isn't a sporting event. It's a matter of life and death

    Although I object to the implication that abortion access only affects women (after all, many transmen and non-binary people can get pregnant), Slate is otherwise correct here. Kavanaugh would be an absolute disaster for marginalized groups. The progressive / libertarian alliance cannot just give up and assume he has enough votes already. It's not too late to contact your Senators and urge them to vote No, or to attend a Handmaid's Tale themed protest if you live in DC.


  • Tony||

    Although I object to the implication that abortion access only affects women (after all, many transmen and non-binary people can get pregnant)

    Funny, but you left off hetero Republicans with mistresses.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    What do you mean "Funny"? I assure you, there's nothing humorous about this situation. People's lives are literally at stake. And even if they weren't Kavanaugh still shouldn't get confirmed because the President who nominated him is an illegitimate Kremlin asset who won a hacked election.


  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Don't you mean twink boyfriends?

  • Tony||

    Not among the groups typically seeking abortions.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The progressive / libertarian alliance"

    The Woketarian Alliance - WA

  • Widhalm19||

    There is no Progressive / Libertarian alliance dipshit. Progressive Marxists are the sworn enemy of Gilder .... and Libertarians.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Some of those women were pregnant with male children when they decided to off them, so it impacts males and females.

  • ||

    When women are allowed to get abortions, it benefits all of us, society as a whole. When women aren't allowed to get abortions men don't suffer. I guess we just suppose that men never want children and if they do they can just shut the hell up about it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This is the most important nomination in history.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Indeed. We're at a pivotal moment in American history, since it comes only a couple months before the most important midterm election in American history.

    However, I continue to insist that the 2016 Russia-hacked election was the most important election overall in American history. At least until 2020 eclipses it.

  • Just Say'n||

    This guy is hilarious.

    Tony, be more ridiculous like this parody.

  • Tony||

    I tip my hat to his talent and could not match it.

  • Red Tony||

    It's true, I can't.

  • TLBD||

    I'm pretty sure Tony's schtick is similar to OBL.

    There is no way a man can hang around the Reason commetariat for years and still be so mind-numblingly stupid.

  • John G Chase||

    Kavanaugh a "done deal"? Not since Corey Booker put his job on the line Thursday to go public with documents the Senate Judiciary Committee had been hiding. It's too bad Libertarians don't have enough clout to plow a middle path between the current extremes. If Booker's action succeeds in slowing the Kavanaugh vote until after the mid-terms, the Beltway will be shaken up -- maybe enough to give Libertarians a toe hold. I hope.

  • TLBD||

    Documents that were a huge and resounding dud, and were set for release anyway.

    Pinning libertarian hopes on progressive Democrat obstruction is absurd. If we wanted a toe-hold we'd ally with the Republicans to bury the Democratic Party. Instead, we kowtow to the Democrats while doing our best to alienate ourselves from the voters of a Republican Party that is at the pinnacle of its power. The same voters that jumped from Democrat to Trump, looking for someone, anyone to look out for their interests. Cosmo-tarians and Neo-liberals passing off as libertarians were only bothered enough to give them the middle finger.

  • R. K. Phillips||

    The number of Democrats that voted for Trump could fit in my library. And I don't have a library.

  • Widhalm19||

    Judge Kavanaugh is a great choice for SCOTUS. You Progressive / Libertarians (an oxymoron if ever there was one) can GFY!

  • TLBD||

    Gorsuch was great. Kavanaugh is mediocre. Though, mediocre is better than whatever Clinton would have given us, or anything the unhinged Democrats in the Senate would like to see.

  • Ed Grinberg||

    The headline of this item is: "Brett Kavanaugh is a done deal. Will he be good for libertarians?" What an odd thing to say. I would've expected "Will he be good for liberty?" or "Will he be good for America?" Libertarians don't have "special interests" different from the rest of society.


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