Yeomans: Is Kavanaugh Trump’s Insurance Policy?

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Carolyn Bobb

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2018 – In the latest edition of Yeomans Work, AFJ Justice Fellow Bill Yeomans writes that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is on record criticizing two cases in a way that sends a strong message of reassurance to President Trump, as Trump’s legal challenges mount. Yeomans notes that Kavanaugh’s statements “buttress the likelihood that Trump selected Kavanaugh because he thought Kavanaugh would protect him” if any case related to Robert Mueller’s investigation were to end up before the Supreme Court.

Both cases were decided by the Supreme Court: U.S. v. Nixon, in which President Nixon was ordered to comply with a subpoena to produce tape recordings of Oval Office conversations; and Morrison v. Olson, in which the court affirmed the constitutionality of the independent counsel law.  The precedents established by these cases could play a central role in any effort by Robert Mueller to compel Trump to comply with a subpoena in the Russia probe. Interestingly, Yeomans points out, recordings have emerged in which Kavanaugh takes issue with the rulings in each of these cases.

Writes Yeomans: “Kavanaugh’s views on these two cases give the Senate much to explore.  Having suggested that each case was wrongly decided, Kavanaugh cannot now refuse to discuss directly the merits of each case or of the theory of expansive executive power that animates his criticism.  That discussion is likely to demonstrate that Kavanaugh cannot be expected to provide a robust check on the president who may have selected him for that very reason.”

Yeomans Work focuses on the challenges to the justice system in the era of Trump. Bill Yeomans is available for media interviews. Contact Laurie Kinney, Communications Director, at or 202-464-7367.