That same year, Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion that overturned a military commission’s conviction of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver, for providing material support to terrorism. Because “the relevant statute at the time of Hamdan’s conduct…did not proscribe material support for terrorism as a war crime,” Kavanaugh explained, the case amounted to retroactive prosecution.
I doubt that Donald Trump, who is not keen on due process or other legal niceties, understands the importance of the principles that might lead a judge to side with a bank robber or a member of Al Qaeda. I’m glad that Kavanaugh does.
Trump, who wants to jail flag burners, yank licenses from annoying broadcasters, and loosen libel rules so he can sue his critics into submission, shows little appreciation for freedom of speech. Not so Kavanaugh, who last year highlighted the First Amendment issues raised by the Federal Communications Commission’s “net neutrality” rule and in 2009 sided with the abortion rights group Emily’s List when it challenged Federal Election Commission regulations that made it harder to raise money for political advocacy.