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IPFS News Link • Constitution

Brett Kavanaugh Flunks His First Test as an Originalist

•, Damon Root

In his 2018 confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was asked by Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) whether or not he considered himself to be an originalist. "Originalism refers to basically textualism applied in the constitutional sphere, with an eye toward identifying the original public meaning of the constitutional text at issue," Lee observed. So, "for our purposes today," Lee asked the nominee, "you're an originalist?" "That's correct," Kavanaugh promptly replied.

Many fans of originalism were no doubt heartened by that answer. Unfortunately for them, Kavanaugh just flunked his first big test as an originalist on the Supreme Court.