What Should Libertarians Fear Most from SCOTUS Pick Brett Kavanaugh?: Podcast

Jonathan Adler says he's "supremely qualified," an originalist, and a critic of the administrative state. But he's a cipher when it comes to defendants' rights.


Jonathan Adler

President Donald Trump's new nominee to serve on the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is "supremely qualified" for the job, says Case Western Reserve University law professor and Volokh Conspiracy blogger Jonathan H. Adler.

In most ways, he continues, Kavanaugh is a good pick from a libertarian perspective. He's been a widely respected judge on the D.C. Circuit for a dozen years, he's an "originalist" when it comes to the Constitution (meaning he believes the text and meaning of laws when they are passed are central to their application), and he's a principled critic of the administrative state (rule by agency bureaucrats rather than by Congress).

So what's not to like if you're libertarian? Adler, who also writes for National Review, says that Kavanaugh is a cipher on issues surrounding the rights of criminal defendants. And when it comes to the procedural rights of enemy combatants, to national security measures, and to certain aspects of executive power, the 53-year-old D.C. native may be more deferential than most libertarians would want.

In a wide-ranging conversation about the shifting balance of power on the Supreme Court, confirmation-hearing hypocrisy from Democrats and Republicans, and fact-free attacks on the Federalist Society as a secretive king-making group, Adler talks about the future of abortion and same-sex marriage and the likely outcome of Kavanaugh's nomination.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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