CBN News spoke with Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute about past decisions by Judge Brett Kavanaugh involving religious freedom, life and Obamacare. Watch above.
The president of a legal organization that defends religious freedom spoke to CBN News about President Donald Trump’s latest nominee for the US Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute recalled past cases involving Kavanaugh. He discussed a time when PJI defended Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church over a prayer he was to pray at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“It was a great honor; he was planning on doing the prayer; he was going to pray in Jesus’ Name,” Dacus told CBN News. “Well, a lawsuit was filed by an atheist, and we at Pacific Justice were brought in to it, to defend him.”
PJI won in a lower court, and the case went before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, where it was heard by a three-judge panel including Kavanaugh.
“The majority opinion was that the gentleman who brought the lawsuit didn’t have standing,” Dacus explained. “But Judge Kavanaugh went out of his way in a concurring opinion to state very clearly that even if he did have standing, this is still protected.”
“The Constitution’s First Amendment establishment clause does not in any way prohibit public prayers at public events such as this one,” he continued.
“And that was a very bold move on his part to make it very clear that the First Amendment is full, and it’s strong, and it’s to be respected by the courts,” Dacus added.
In another religious freedom case, Dacus told CBN News how Kavanaugh wrote a friend of the court brief as a private attorney in support of having prayer at graduation ceremonies.
“That was also a very significant sign as far as we’re concerned of where he’s headed in respecting public displays of religious expression in accordance with the First Amendment,” Dacus said.
“Those are really two wonderful hints from a religious freedom and an establishment clause perspective of what we could expect from him in the future,” he added.
When it comes to life issues, Dacus says Kavanaugh has a mixed record.
“A number of years ago – I think it was back in 2006 – he made a public statement that he would not reverse Roe v. Wade,” Dacus explained. “Was this a resolution? Was this something that was just said flippantly? We don’t know.”
Dacus said he also ruled against a pro-life demonstrator in front of the White House.
“There may be other reasons why he ruled that way, perhaps, for law, order, etc.,” Dacus said.
The PJI president went on to say that on the positive side when it comes to the life issue, Kavanaugh ruled against Obamacare’s mandate requiring businesses and organizations to provide abortion-causing drugs.
“He said that, no, the free exercise rights of individuals and businesses and entities trumps any mandate by Obamacare when it comes to providing for abortifacients,” Dacus said.
In addition, Dacus referenced a ruling by Kavanaugh in a case involving abortion and an illegal immigrant.
“He also recently ruled in the minority against a decision by the Circuit Court to allow an illegal immigrant, a teenager, who was under the guardianship and custody of the government to have an abortion,” Dacus elaborated.
“He said, no, this is not a right, an entitlement, much less the discretion and authority of the federal government when it comes to these issues such as abortion,” Dacus said. “So I think that that’s another very positive sign.”