Have you heard? A new Supreme Court Justice has been appointed. His name is Brett Kavanaugh, he hails from the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, and he’s got Democrats a little bit nervous. Why? Because they think he may try to shield Trump from the Mueller investigation.
Kavanaugh argued in an article written for the Minnesota Law Review in 2009 that sitting presidents should be immune from civil suit and criminal indictment. He cited the investigation of Clinton as a reason for this view, and has implied “that the Starr investigation distracted Clinton from focusing on Osama bin Laden.” Some find this view alarming — however, take a deep breath. As Noah Feldman points out, in an article published by Bloomberg Law, what Kavanaugh actually suggests is that Congress should pass a law that would protect the President. Inherent in that suggestion is an admission that the Supreme Court does not have the power to immunize the President itself. So worries that the Justices may, for instance, enjoin Mueller’s invesitgation, are probably unfounded.
That being said, that doesn’t mean Kavanaugh cannot be of use to the President in other ways. Kavanaugh may rule that the President can pardon himself, as Trump has suggested in the past. Alternatively, Congress may just take Kavanaugh up on his suggestion and pass a law immunizing Trump. Much remains to be seen.