This past week saw one of the biggest displays of government waste with the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court. We saw a women make claims about a man from when they were in high school and the United States Senate probing (figuratively) into the sexual lives of these two people. However, they are missing the bigger picture. Brett Kavanaugh is not unfit for the court because of his run-ins with women in his past but for a bigger assault.
From the Hill:
Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court raises troubling concerns about our right to be free of unwarranted government oversight in an age of expanding capacity to engage in surveillance without our knowledge.
The Klayman case was a challenge to the federal government’s “bulk data collection” program begun under the Bush Administration. Under that program, the government collected telephone “metadata,” such as information on numbers dialed and how long phone calls lasted, on numerous individuals without a warrant, and deposited it into a database. The FBI could then probe that database with approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. A federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction against the program in both 2013 and 2015, finding that the program improperly collected metadata on people not suspected of any crime. After the 2015 injunction was stayed on appeal by a three-judge panel, Judge Kavanaugh had the chance to state his views in no uncertain terms.
While the full D.C. Circuit declined to review the stay order, in his concurring opinion Kavanaugh went out of his way to assert that the metadata program was “entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.” Even in the absence of full briefing, Kavanaugh concluded that the alleged “critical national security need” for the program “outweighs the impact on privacy.”
Not only did the panel and the lower court find cause to enjoin the program, at least one appellate court ruled the metadata collection to be illegal. Reason magazine’s Jacob Sullum noted that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board contradicted Judge Kavanaugh’s claim that the program was important to “preventing terrorist attacks”, saying they were aware of “no instance” where the program had such an effect.
Kavanaugh’s record on the fourth amendment during his time as a judge is quite troubling. For Libertarians, this should be a red flag and immediate disapproval. We live in a world that has the ability to track and use our information against us at every turn. Liberty is necessary to protect and guys like Kavanaugh will not be those protectors.