Seth Abramson provides the perfect reason to block Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Abramson weighed in today on Kavanaugh’s nomination to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy who retired last month; this requires a little background for those who may not have been keeping up with the controversy regarding Kavanaugh’s selection, in light of an article that he wrote a few years ago calling for presidents to be shielded from criminal investigations.
As The New Yorker reported shortly after his nomination: “In a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review, [Kavanaugh] wrote that Congress should consider exempting sitting Presidents from criminal indictment, because such cases were distracting and ‘inevitably politicized.'”
CNBC shed some light on the controversy, reporting:
[Kavanaugh] has a track record of strongly supporting executive power, which includes calling for sitting presidents to be shielded from criminal investigations and civil lawsuits while they are in office.
Critics of the president say Kavanaugh’s stances on executive power helped his standing with Trump… Trump faces pending civil lawsuits and an ongoing criminal probe of members of his presidential campaign by special counsel Robert Mueller, who wants to question him.
Kavanaugh’s record of deferring to presidential power, which includes suggesting that a president should not be constrained while in office by the responsibilities of “ordinary citizenship,” is hardening resistance among Democratic senators to Kavanaugh’s appointment.
Abramson posted a two-part tweet today explaining how Democrats should leverage that information to block his consideration as a nominee:
Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh may actually be *part* of a criminal course of conduct, given what we know about how and why Kavanaugh was selected: to help Trump obstruct justice and evade the rule of law. Why is no one making the argument against Kavanaugh hearings in that way? When you’re under federal investigation, you *don’t* get to pick the judge in your case, as your selection would be presumed corrupt. Here, we know that Trump and his team were part of a clandestine deal to get a SCOTUS pick *and* to get a judge who’d help Trump evade justice.
Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh may actually be *part* of a criminal course of conduct, given what we know about how and why Kavanaugh was selected: to help Trump obstruct justice and evade the rule of law. Why is no one making the argument against Kavanaugh hearings in that way?
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) August 24, 2018
If you haven’t been following former criminal investigator and defense attorney Seth Abramson on Twitter, you should consider taking the time.
For those unfamiliar with his work, Abramson has been publishing extensive Twitter threads and mega-threads regarding the ongoing investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. And, while he has his critics, Abramson – a former public defender at both the state and federal level – has an impressive resume.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Seth worked for eight years as a criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator and is now a tenure-track professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at University of New Hampshire. His teaching areas include digital journalism, post-internet cultural theory, post-internet writing, and legal advocacy (legal writing, case method, and trial advocacy).
Trained as a criminal investigator at Georgetown University (1996) and then the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute (2000-2001), Seth is a member in good standing of both the New Hampshire Bar and the Federal Bar for the District of New Hampshire. He’s worked for three public defenders—two state and one federal—representing over 2,000 criminal defendants over that time in cases ranging from juvenile delinquency to first-degree murder. He first testified in federal court as a defense investigator at the age of 19; represented his first homicide client at the age of 22 as a Rule 33 attorney for the Boston Trial Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services; and won his first first-degree murder trial at 29. Between 2001 and 2007, he was a staff attorney for the Nashua Trial Unit of the New Hampshire Public Defender.
His official bio goes on to note that:
Seth is regularly interviewed about politics and higher education by domestic and International media. Recent interviews include the BBC, CNN, NPR, PBS, ABC Radio, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Magazine, and The New England Review of Books. Seth’s essays have also been widely cited, including discussions on CNBC, PBS, FNC, BET, and NPR, as well as in Politico, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy, Slate, and Pitchfork.
If you are interested in reading more of Abramson’s work, Twitter user @chicken_afraido created a document linking to every Trump-Russia thread published by Abramson going back to autumn of 2016. The document begins with his updated bio from 8 December 2017, but then hops to his latest threads and works in reverse chronological order. He also has a web page linking to Abramson’s threads using category listings for those interested in a breakdown by topic.