If Democrats unite and refuse to support Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy (a big if), he will need unanimous endorsement from Senate Republicans in order to be confirmed. But there’s a chance he won’t get it.
Although most Republican senators are expected to support Kavanaugh, political observers have flagged two pro-choice GOP senators — Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — as possible defectors. After all, Trump campaigned on the promise that he would appoint a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and there’s a possibility that Kavanaugh’s appointment could enable that result.
But there is another Republican senator whose vote might also be in play: Kentucky’s Rand Paul. […] Following Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelation that the National Security Agency was collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk, the libertarian-conservative Paul was furious. He filed a class-action lawsuit against the Obama administration in 2014, saying in a press release that the spying constituted a “clear and continuing violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
But a concurrence Kavanaugh authored in 2015 suggests that he has a much more expansive view of the government’s ability to conduct warrantless searches than Paul. Writing about the same NSA activities that enraged Paul, Kavanaugh was clear: “In sum, the Fourth Amendment does not bar the Government’s bulk collection of telephony metadata under this program.”
Rand Paul is awful. But, if he comes through and votes against Kavanaugh, I’ll give credit where credit is due.