By John McClaughry
In the Seven Days newspaper of July 11, Sen. Patrick Leahy issued a full-throated blast at Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, claiming that Judge Kavanaugh, in a 2009 Minnesota Law Review article, wrote that “the president should be above the law when they’re president.”
Reporter Taylor Dobbs then accurately quoted the law review article that proposed “that sitting presidents should not be subject to indictments, civil lawsuits, or criminal investigations.”
In it Judge Kavanaugh wrote: “The first [counterargument to that proposal would be] that no one is above the law in our system of government. I strongly agree with that principle. But …the point is not to put the President above the law or to eliminate checks on the President, but simply to defer litigation and investigations until the President is out of office.”
Judge Kavanaugh based that conclusion on the tribulations of the Clinton presidency: “Looking back to the late 1990s… the nation certainly would have been better off if President Clinton could have focused on Osama bin Laden without being distracted by the Paula Jones sexual harassment case and its criminal-investigation offshoots.”
That does not support Leahy’s inflammatory charge that the judge believes that “the president should be above the law when they’re president.”
You will hear a lot of false and wild charges about Judge Kavanaugh over the next two months. Don’t take Patrick Leahy’s word for any of them.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.