U of M Law Expert: I Won’t Be Watching the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings

Richard Primus

This week the Senate Judiciary Committee begins its hearings with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as he seeks the role of Supreme Court Justice.

The hearings will allow Senators to question Kavanaugh on his legal opinions and give ample room for the lawmakers to make their own political views well known.

It’s difficult to say whether Kavanaugh will easily win all the votes he needs to be confirmed to the highest court in the land, but it’s clear we are well beyond the days of nearly unanimous, bipartisan support for qualified judges nominated by the President of the United States.


The nomination of Supreme Court justices has become, in recent years, one of the most politicized questions in the U.S. Senate.

Richard Primus, constitutional law expert and professor at the University of Michigan Law School, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to speak about the Kavanaugh hearing.

Primus believes Kavanaugh is qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, but he won’t be tuning in to the hearings. 

There’s not really anything important about the candidate that the Senate doesn’t already know,” says Primus. “It’s really unlikely that any senator’s mind is going to be changed by anything the nominee says,” he adds. 

The last time any confirmation hearing really produced new information…was in the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas in 1991 when allegations of sexual harassment against him surfaced,” Primus says. “And he was confirmed anyway.” 

According to Primus, the purpose of a confirmation hearing isn’t to educate the public. 

The real function of the confirmation hearings now is for the benefit of the senators,” he says. 

Click on the audio player for the full conversation. 

Image credit: U.S. Supreme Court

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Detroit Today

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