Judge Kavanaugh: I Will Be a Team Player

Judge Brett Kavanaugh plans to tell his Senate Judiciary Committee nomination vetters at his confirmation hearings (which begin Tuesday morning [Sept. 4]) that he plans to be a team player if confirmed to the Supreme Court and signaled he would not be talking about how he might rule on future cases. 

That is according to excerpts from his opening statement released by the White House and comes as Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) warned that "with the cameras rolling and millions tuned in, some may try to turn this important evaluation into a political spectacle."

"If confirmed to the Court, I would be part of a Team of Nine, committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States," Kavanaugh says. "I would always strive to be a team player on the Team of Nine."

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He also put in a plug for his predecessor, the retired Anthony Kennedy, a Republican nominee who became a swing vote for the liberal wing in some big decisions. 

"To me, Justice Kennedy is a mentor, a friend, and a hero. As a Member of the Court, he was a model of civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the Judiciary. And he was a champion of liberty."

"A good judge," said Kavanaugh, "must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy. I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge."

But Kavanaugh is also an anti-2015 Open Internet Order judge--in his current role on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where he said that order was an unconstitutional abridgement of ISP's First Amendment rights to choose among online content.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has promised to grill Kavanaugh about that position during the confirmation hearings.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.