How Liberal Are Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh?
We've talked about Brett Kavanaugh before. We haven't really gotten into his fellow Trump Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch. Now is the time to talk about them. Supreme Court Justices are generally lifetime appointments. Therefore, they can finally be themselves. They can give their true opinions on cases without fear of losing out on anything. David Souter was appointed by George H.W. Bush as a conservative and turned out to be mostly liberal. So Justices true views can be far different from what they showed before in public life. So the question is are Gorsuch and Kavanaugh in any way liberal now that they are both on the Supreme Court.
So far Gorsuch has been rather conservative. However in one particular decision, he sided with the liberal wing to strengthen the rights of defendants in deportation proceedings. He based his reasoning on the fact that defendants should have similar rights in criminal and civil proceedings. (Deportation of illegal immigrants is a civil procedure.) Furthermore, he stated that congress should enact policy instead of the judiciary in one of his decisions. An attitude like this means that he will be less likely to use the courts to rule laws and regulations passed by a future Democratic congress and signed by a Democratic president. (He will most likely intervene in some cases, but any moderation of this position is welcome.)
Brett Kavanaugh hasn't actually made a decision on the Supreme Court yet. But he has asked surprising questions in a death penalty case. He asked if someone with severe medical conditions that would cause virtually any form of execution to be incredibly painful, would be executed even if they can't find a less painful alternative. His skepticism of the State Of Missouri's desire to execute an inmate is refreshing from a conservative. He is believed to be leaning toward the liberals in this case who view this case as a violation of the inmate's 8th amendment rights.
In the future, it will be interesting to see how conservative or how liberal, these longtime conservative judges, will rule.