After Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Trump and the GOP leadership mounted a full-court press to ram through his confirmation before October 1, the first day of the Court’s new term, for five good reasons, says Marjorie Cohn.
The Republican Party and Donald Trump wanted Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court before the November 6 midterm elections because if the Democrats had achieved a majority in the Senate, there may not have been sufficient votes to confirm him.
But the real hurry to get Kavanaugh confirmed had more to do with the several cases on the Supreme Court’s docket: Republicans are hoping to ensure the outcome of several hot-button cases, including those involving double jeopardy, immigration, age discrimination and the Endangered Species Act. Moreover, there is the possibility that the Supreme Court could also decide to take up additional cases affecting gerrymandering, gay and transgender rights, and the separation of church and state.
Below is an in-depth explanation of the top five reasons why the GOP rushed to confirm Kavanaugh in time for him to affect these cases currently on the Supreme Court docket.
1) Double Jeopardy
Potentially most consequential for Trump is the case of Gamble v. US, which could affect his ability to pardon his associates, and even himself. On June 4, 2018, Trump tweeted, “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.”
The pardon power, located in Article II, section 2 of the Constitution, says, “The president … shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” It limits the president’s pardon power to federal offenses.
In Gamble v. US, the justices will decide whether prosecuting a person in both state and federal courts for the same crime violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which states, “No person shall … be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb …”
For 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that state and federal courts are separate…