Koch-Founded Cato Supports Kethledge to Replace Kennedy


Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, expressed support for the Trump administration’s possible nomination of Raymond Kethledge to the Supreme Court following Justice Anthony Kennedy’s coming retirement.

Shapiro told Newsweek, “You can attack the results on some of these [immigration] cases from either the left or the right, but I reviewed them and I think he’s right about every single one.”

Shapiro also expressed support for Kethledge on Twitter and on Cato’s website:

Shapiro described then-presidential candidate Donald Trump as a “demagogue” with “contempt for the Constitution” in an op-ed published at the Federalist in May of 2016. The “Trump tornado” and “annus horribilis” of 2016, he wrote, had been ushered in by Chief Justice John Roberts’ “vindication of Obamacare” in joining the Supreme Court’s 2012 majority decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. He further likened Trump to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former Argentinian President Juan Perón.

CATO describes itself as an organization “dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.” It does not describe itself as conservative.

The Cato Institute opposed President Donald Trump’s proposals for “extreme vetting” of foreign national seeking entry to the U.S., Breitbart News reported:

In a piece for the Washington Post, Cato Institute Immigration Analyst David Bier decries the extreme vetting process where most recently the Trump Administration announced that it would begin requiring in-person interviews before any foreign national already in the U.S. on a business visa is granted permanent legal residence through a Green Card.

Despite Trump’s effort to tighten legal immigration rules to prevent not only fraud, but to keep Americans safe, Bier said the new restrictions are too costly for newcomers:

Though Bier says increasing the paperwork for foreign nationals is unnecessary, he argues the biggest issue is that it is too expensive.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is supporting the contemplated nomination of Kethledge to the Supreme Court. As Breitbart News reported:

McConnell has, in private conversations, said he is pushing Trump to pick Kethledge for the slot because he thinks Kethledge’s positions in contravention of the GOP base on certain issues like immigration would make him an easily-confirmed nominee in an election year.

“McConnell has said he does not want a SCOTUS battle in an election year,” one source briefed on McConnell’s comments to a variety of people around Washington, including at least one journalist whom the Senate Majority Leader spoke with off the record ahead of Monday’s announcement. “He thinks Kethledge would be easy to confirm because Kethledge is not a consistent conservative.”

McConnell’s argument, per sources who have heard him make it directly, is that Kethledge is non-controversial and would not face the same problems in the Senate confirmation process—meaning he would rather not have to fight than have a nominee with fewer questions about his or her conservative positions.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.


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