Tony Perkins: Less Evangelical Enthusiasm for Brett Kavanaugh Pick, But He Will Be a 'Good Jurist'
- Tony Perkins here withthe Family Research Council.
Tony thanks for being here.
- Good morning how you all doing?
- [Host] We're doing well,we have some topics don't we?
- Well, Tony we wanted to talk to you
about the Supreme Court.
You know, you wanted AmyBarrett or Thomas Hardiman,
how disappointed were you
when you heard the President's pick?
- Well, you know, actually,not really disappointed.
The President putting outa list of 25 candidates
that have been thoroughly vetted,
any one of those candidateswould be good from a standpoint
of wanting to right the court back to,
adhering to the words of the Constitution,
all of those are constitutional.
So, we feel confident
based on thisadministration's track record
that Kavanaugh's gonna be a good jurist.
Now, that said, yeah, I wasanticipating the President,
who is much more aggressive
than we know from thetraditional republican ranks.
You know, if he's gonna have a fight
and anybody he appointsis gonna be a fight
we thought well, hey let'smake it a good fight,
'cause that's what he generallydoes cleared the benches,
everybody onto the field.
And I think that Amy Barrett or Hardiman
would have been that type ofjudicial brawl if you will.
Not that, it's gonna be a fight anyway.
And I think conservativesare gonna lock ranks
behind this administrationagain based on the track record
that he has picked really good jurists
from the district court allthe way up to Neil Gorsuch.
- Well, that was a littlebit of my analysis as well,
that you would think, he'sbeen bold in everything he did.
I'm surprised, I thought he was itching
for a fight with Barrettbut he didn't go there.
What's the biggest roadblock for Kavanaugh here?
What's your concern?
Abortion has come up
and this idea that henever said those words,
constitutional right to an abortion
where the other judge inthe dissent did say that.
- Well, you know, again,I think the President
has a lot of credibility, alot of street cred, if you will
with conservatives based upon
what his administration has done.
He has kept all of his political promises.
That in of itself is unique.
So, I think everybody'sgonna say, we agree with it.
We're gonna be, we're forKavanaugh, you see this,
the locking ranks.
Again, you look at someof his 300 opinions
and I'm sure you can findsomething to disagree with
but it's clear that he isa strict constructionist.
He's gonna abide by theletter of the Constitution
which is what we're looking for.
I think that probablythe biggest challenge
that has to be communicated andI've seen the Vice President
already doing this,
yeah, there was a coupleof troubling decisions
on the life issue but not,they weren't significant.
I think the bigger issue isthe path that he has taken
to get to the court.
I mean, he's basically been in D.C.
and there's some othersthat have come through
that same route and they'venot turned out to be so good.
And I think that's more,it's just having to overcome
that I'm not like that.
I think there's some concerns that the
even as Roberts hasdisappointed folks on the,
- [Host] I was gonna ask you about that.
Obamacare decision that and basically,
following the same routeto the Supreme Court.
So, I just think it's perception,
I don't think it's substance,I think it's perception
and I think the administration
has plenty of time to overcome that.
- I was gonna ask you, realquick, about Roberts though.
So you mentioned Roberts 'cause clearly
there's some disappointment there
and I would think that Kavanaugh,the concern would be that
he's more of like an incrementalist.
I mean, he's not a ClarenceThomas, he's not a Sam Alito,
is that, and if this becomesan incrementalist situation.
I mean, maybe it's good on the margins
but this could have been been a home run.
- Look, we could have had a stronger.
I think, in perception, though,
I think in substance, Ithink he's gonna be fine.
I think that he is going to be fine.
I think when you look at his opinions,
he is a strict constructionist,
he's a constitutionalist, he'sgonna go through the text.
So, I think we're fine, I thinkit's all perception, mostly
and I just know thatwhere the ranking file
of the conservativemovement, in particular.
The reason I said Barrett would be good is
because when she was confirmed last year,
they attacked her faith.
And we saw people whogenerally don't pay attention,
they were engaged becausethey saw that as an extension
of what the democraticparty did under Barack Obama
and has continued andthat is to say, basically,
if you're a person offaith, you can't come in
and be apart of public service.
And I think that type of engagement
would not only help thisjustice be confirmed.
I know there was issueswith Collins and Murkowski
but I actually think itwould have spilled over
into the midterm electionbecause of the engagement
and the enthusiasm of conservative voters.
- Are you concerned about that Tony?
How concerned are you thatbecause he nominated Kavanaugh
that evangelicals who particularly,
the GOP needs to turn outthat this might not galvanize
the base like a Barrettor a Hardiman would have?
- Well, I, clearly therewill be a distinction
but I think that through this process
we're gonna take this as oneof those teaching moments
to talk about the role of the court
and what the court has been doing
and what's to come in the court
in the significance of this election.
It's a little harder,
this is gonna be more of an inside game,
in terms of this confirmationof Kavanaugh juxtaposed
to an Amy Barrett which I think
would have been more ofan outside game as well.
Which would have, it'd beeneasier to connect people with.
But again, it's perception,substance is the same.
The end result I believe isgonna be the same as well.