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    07.12.18 Professor William Araiza Weighs in on SCOTUS Nominee Kavanaugh
    Bill Araiza

    Professor William Araiza, a widely published constitutional law scholar, has been quoted extensively in recent media coverage of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, providing insight into the background and opinions of President Donald Trump’s choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

    In a Law360 story discussing the rationale behind Kavanaugh’s nomination, Araiza said that Kavanaugh “has written opinions that call into question some foundational concepts about the administrative state, and I think that that question might in fact be simpatico with maybe Trump’s own views or maybe views of some of his coalition.” He added that he doesn’t think the president has a strong “judicial philosophy.” More likely, Araiza said, the president “sees judicial appointments as a perk, or as a spoil that he can give to his coalition,” and “the administrative law stuff makes Kavanaugh a little more distinctive.”

    Citing Kavanaugh’s dissent in the case of the 17-year-old undocumented teen who was seeking an abortion, Araiza told the New York Daily Newsthat he views Kavanaugh as someone who would likely be in favor of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision: “He used strong language in that ruling that kind of sounded like dog whistles to the larger anti-abortion crowd. It’s inconceivable that he would not be a reliable conservative vote on hot-button issues, including abortion.”

    Araiza was asked by Vox what Kavanaugh’s potential confirmation to the Supreme Court might mean for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. While the question is hypothetical, legal experts have said that Kavanaugh’s past decisions offer clues about his stance toward executive power—and those views seem to support the idea that a president could not be indicted while in office.

    “It would surprise me if Democrats on the [Senate Judiciary] Committee did not question Kavanaugh about that,” said Araiza, noting that there are “really interesting governance/separation of powers issues” that he hopes come up during the nominee’s hearing. “I think there’s something there about Kavanaugh liking presidential authority that would suggest that he also likes presidential immunity, maybe presidential immunity from prosecution and investigation,” he said.

    Araiza’s teaching and scholarship focus on administrative and constitutional law. He frequently participates on panels and discussion groups about Constitutional Law and current events. Araiza clerked for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Read the articles:
    How Kavanaugh’s Conservative Cred, DC Ties Won the Day
    President Trump Nominates Hard-line Conservative Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court
    7 Legal Experts on How Kavanaugh Views Executive Power—and What it Could Mean for Mueller