Kavanaugh: One of the Most Critical Appointments in US History

The rise of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court comes at a transformational time in the relationship between private and public sectors; changes in culture and worldviews; and new areas of constitutional law and security. With the high volume of litigation hitting the courts, the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh arrives as this litigation will decide on matters including freedom of speech, monopoly control, privacy of information and communications, gender identity, religion, and some important claims involving foreign countries and global security issues.

Political control in these areas has been the driving force in the extreme and emotional rivalry witnessed between democrats and republicans in recent weeks, and some of these areas may play a part in reshaping the parties’ identities themselves. It is also worth pointing out that last week, the white house also released President Trump’s counterterrorism strategy to the public, and this strategy is important to see in connection with some of the decisions currently before the Supreme Court. 

Corporate Interests and Government Representation of Consumers

Here is a look at some of the decisions before the Supreme Court that have been overshadowed by other topics in recent media coverage. There are a number of decisions to be determined involving major internet providers and communication services including cell phone and internet services, the issue of monopoly ownership, speech, and privacy. U.S. Telecom Association, TechFreedom, AT&T, and Berninger all have appeals against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC regulation, internet access, monopoly strength, and the freedom of speech are all important matters of discussion across these appeals while Zappos.com Inc. v. Stevens is timely regarding the privacy and storage of online user of information.

Facebook’s Public Policy Chief, Joel Kaplan, attended the Kavanaugh hearings in favor of the judge’s nomination and demonstrated an internal transformation within the company currently undergoing litigation regarding its handling of user information and privacy having also ramifications on its international relations.

The monopoly issue in trade extends into critical infrastructure of the U.S. and was discussed with the issue of private ownership in President Trump’s counterterrorism strategy. City of Cibolo, Texas v. Green Valley Special Utility District will get into these areas with respect to water management.

Surfacing now is the latest scandal involving Chinese espionage and Apple manufacturing in China with the discovery of suspicious hardware found in cell phones and personal computers. However, Apple also provides a lot of medical imagery equipment and other professional equipment less visible to the public. 

Global Trade and Security

The extent of the security breach will directly affect ongoing trade, diplomacy, and security with the Chinese government and businesses. This could have served as a factor in the recent shift to increase domestic manufacturing facilities in the US, and those in Canada and Mexico with the new NAFTA agreement. Not only could compromised oversees manufacturing pose national security threat but also financial liability to companies with catastrophic losses in intellectual property including trade secrets.

Further into the area of national security however, the Supreme Court will decide on two claims involving foreign governments, Bank Markazi, Iran’s central bank, versus Peterson, the family member of a fallen Marine who died during a terrorist attack. This case is perhaps the most important Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). Republic of Sudan v. Opati represents another terrorism related matter of extrajudicial killing by a foreign government and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).

While it is good for the US to hold foreign governments accountable for the killing of individuals committed on US soil, the public should be aware of the government’s share of financial damages paid on behalf of victims as this may be an important issue of reform. Another important factor here is the citizenship process for victims who are refugees and expatriates fleeing persecution in their home country. On the end of the national security spectrum is Lucio-Rayos v. Sessions which involves the criminal backgrounds of noncitizens, migration issues, and border security. 

Issues of National Identity

R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission involves gender identity and transgender related law with respect to employment. Religion and free speech is also at its most precarious and pivotal moment with several cases on appeal. The American Legion and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission are in lawsuits with the American Humanist Association is seeking to remove cross shape burial markings from a national memorial site for buried WWI heroes, a ruling that could be applied to other faith based communications in the country.

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District involves a public school coach who prayed with students before a sporting event. The Supreme Court will decide whether Coach Kennedy is a public employee or private citizen exercising his rights as an individual.

Honeywell Int’l Inc. v. Mexichem Fluor Inc. involves the Clean Air Act and the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution hit by substantial budget cuts early on in the Trump administration’s efforts to stimulate the energy industry. These are just some of the important issues facing the Supreme Court and perhaps provides answers for some people still baffled by the hysterics of the Supreme Court appoint of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The hysterics are far from over. Now each of these issues will take on the form of turf battles not only between democrats and republicans but between public and private institutions and likely where national security and economics are concerned with increasing foreign meddling.

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