GOP Rep. Amash slams Kavanaugh on government surveillance rulings

GOP Rep. Amash slams Kavanaugh on government surveillance rulings
© Greg Nash

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashRand Paul ramps up his alliance with Trump Ethics watchdog requests probe into Trump officials traveling to campaign events Kavanaugh’s views on privacy, Fourth Amendment should make Republicans think twice MORE (R-Mich.) on Monday called President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a “disappointing pick,” ripping the judge’s past rulings on surveillance issues.

The congressman cited a 2015 opinion written by Kavanaugh while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, that found “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.”

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Amash disagreed with that ruling, saying it creates “a rubber stamp for the executive branch.”

“Future decisions on the constitutionality of government surveillance of Americans will be huge. We can’t afford a rubber stamp for the executive branch,” Amash tweeted.

He also included a quote from Kavanaugh’s opinion in the case, stating “that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program.”

Kavanaugh had written the concurring opinion in 2015, rejecting a request to rehear a case on whether the National Security Agency’s program on warrantless phone metadata collection was legal.

Trump on Monday tapped Kavanaugh to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Conservatives have largely applauded the appointment, while some prominent Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.), have vowed to oppose the pick.

Amash is not the only GOP lawmaker to have been critical of Kavanaugh's past rulings.

Republican Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulA Senator Gary Johnson could be good not just for Libertarians, but for the Senate too Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill MORE (Ky.) has also been a critic of some of Kavanaugh's past rulings on surveillance. 

After the announcement of Kavanaugh as the nominee Monday, Paul said he would review the pick with “an open mind.”