Aug. 29, 2018
On U.S. Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh Sided With Corporations 87 Percent of the Time in Split Decisions in Key Areas
Past Opinions Can Provide Insight Into a Judge’s Philosophy, Predilections
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During his 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh decided or wrote an opinion against the public interest 87 percent of the time in split-decision cases in five key areas, including consumer, environmental and worker rights cases, Public Citizen found in a report (PDF) released today.
Kavanaugh has participated in more than 1,000 cases and written hundreds of opinions while on the court of appeals, most of which were decided by three-judge panels. A significant proportion of those cases were decided on a 3-0 basis, which often reflected consensus among judges across the political spectrum. In other cases, the judges disagreed with one another and therefore issued 2-1 decisions.
Of the 101 split-decision cases involving Kavanaugh, Public Citizen analyzed his decisions and opinions in five areas: consumer and regulatory issues and administrative law, environmental protection, worker rights, claims alleging police or human rights abuses, and antitrust. The report found that Kavanaugh has overwhelmingly reached conclusions favorable to business interests and opposed to consumers, workers, environmental protectionsand victims of human rights abuses:
- In 18 of 22 cases involving consumer and regulatory issues or matters of administrative law, Kavanaugh sided with corporations against agencies, or with agencies against public-interest challengers.
- In 11 of 13 environmental cases, Kavanaugh sided with corporations or states challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or other federal agencies for being too protective of the environment, or against environmental groups seeking stronger environmental enforcement.
- In 15 of 17 cases involving worker rights, Kavanaugh sided with employers against employees or employees’ unions, or with employers against the National Labor Relations Board.
- In seven of seven cases involving victims suing for compensation over police or human rights abuses, Kavanaugh sided with the alleged abuser and against the victims.
- In two oftwo cases, Kavanaugh sided with merging companies and against antitrust enforcement agencies
Additionally, the report found that during his tenure, Kavanaugh has:
- Been inconsistent on the issue of deference to agency action;
- Favored a standard benefitting corporations on the issue of standing;
- Imposed high bars to citizen access to the courts, but treated corporations differently;
- Opposed independent agencies; and
- Been highly skeptical of civil rights claims.
“The most eye-catching conclusion from reviewing Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions on the appellate court is the consistency of the outcomes compared to the inconsistency of his reasoning — the overwhelming tendency to reach conclusions favorable to corporations and against the public interest,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.
Read the full report.