Op-eds

Below you will find the op-eds (opinion articles) that have been published in newspapers and online across the country.  Op-eds are posted according to their release date. To read by topic, please see the Issue Positions page.

By Senator Orrin Hatch

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/sen-orrin-hatch-i-will-lift-heaven-and-earth-to-get-judge-brett-kavanaugh-on-the-supreme-court

Monday evening, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the seat Justice Anthony Kennedy will vacate at the end of the month.

As the longest-serving member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have been deeply involved in the last fifteen Supreme Court confirmation fights — including the confirmations of all current Supreme Court justices.

When evaluating judicial nominees, I have focused on the nominees’ qualifications. One of the most important qualifications for any Supreme Court nominee is his judicial philosophy and whether he understands the proper role of the judiciary. In this particular regard, Judge Kavanaugh is an outstanding choice.

I know Kavanaugh from his previous confirmation to the D.C. Circuit. He is one of our nation’s most distinguished and influential jurists. During his more than 12 years on the bench, Judge Kavanaugh has authored hundreds of opinions on issues ranging from national security to agency rulemaking to constitutional rights. He has shown a deep commitment to the separation of powers and to the Bill of Rights. He will be a strong, principled voice on the Supreme Court.

I am also confident that Kavanaugh has the right judicial philosophy. A nominee’s judicial philosophy is critical. It must be consistent with the judiciary’s place in our system of government and the separation of powers. The Constitution established a government of limited powers, with each of the three branches of government having a set role to play.

Under the Constitution, judges do not make law; Congress does. And judges do not set policy; Congress and the executive branch do. The judiciary’s role is to interpret the law and to apply the law to the facts of the case before it.

How to interpret the Constitution has been a fiery debate between conservatives and liberals for more than 30 years. On the one hand, conservatives have championed the view that judges should interpret the Constitution according to the actual text of the document to preserve its original meaning. On the other hand, many liberals have pushed for judges who are willing to substitute their own views and policy preferences to reach the outcome they like best.

During the upcoming confirmation hearing, progressives will undoubtedly try to focus on outcomes in cases rather than on whether Kavanaugh will interpret the law as it was written. But focusing on policy outcomes over judicial philosophy distorts what judges do. Judges must be impartial and must fairly apply the law as written, without imposing their own preferences on the process.

The temptation for a judge to impose his views on others is great. But so is the danger it poses to our most fundamental freedoms. To be consistent with the separation of powers, judges must be constrained by the text of the Constitution and the statutes passed by Congress. If judges fail to adhere to the text of laws as passed by Congress and instead substitute their own views to achieve their own preferred outcomes, judges usurp the role and the power of the legislature.

By adhering to their limited role under the Constitution, good judges set their own politics aside to protect us from government overreach. They also ensure everyone enjoys the freedom to practice their religion free from government intrusion, even when those religious beliefs may be unpopular. At the same time, when judges adhere to the text of the Constitution, they leave a role for the people and those they elect in deciding many important issues.

Judge Kavanaugh understands the proper role of the judiciary and will faithfully honor the Constitution. That’s why I will lift heaven and Earth to see that he is confirmed. In the weeks to come, I will fight every day to ensure that Judge Kavanaugh receives a fair hearing. I have no doubt that he will serve our nation honorably on the Supreme Court.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican, is the senior senator from Utah. He is a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is now chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

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