In a 72-25 ruling, the Senate confirmed Trump Court of Appeals nominee Mark Bennett to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court. Trump nominated Bennett on February 12th and he was confirmed July 9th.
The majority of votes in favor (46) were Democrats. Most nay votes were Republican, including Senators Ted Cruz (TX), Tim Scott (SC), and Rand Paul (KY). Two were Democratic votes (though the Washington Times incorrectly stated that all nay votes were cast by Republicans): Senators Cory Booker (NJ) and Mazie Hirono (HI).
Bennett served as a U.S. Assistant Attorney for ten years. Afterwards, Bennett worked for a private firm, McCorriston, Miller, Mukai, & MacKinnon, LLP. He was later appointed by former Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle (R) to become Hawaii Attorney General from 2002-2010. Currently, he serves as a director of the Honolulu based Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher firm.
Bennett has years of experience to prop up his resume. Likely, that is what got him nominated in the first place. Despite this, his record is concerning. As Hawaii AG, Bennett occasionally showed favor toward Republican policy but totally disregarded it otherwise.
In the case of Myers v. Loudoun County School Board, Edward Myers sued Loudoun County for keeping “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, claiming a violation of the Establishment Clause. Bennett sided with Loudoun County, VA, and held that keeping “under God” in the Pledge does not violate the Constitution.
In 2013 he made an about-face on “marriage equality”. In 2010 he dismissed the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii when they wanted “action on civil unions”, but pushed for gay marriage laws in 2013, urging that they “would be right, fair, just and consistent with the ideals and principles upon which our nation was founded.” He explained why:
“Some have argued that marriage historically is between men and women. I have no reason to quarrel with that view of history, but that is not a reason to stay with the past. Mores change, as do views of what is just, right, and fair. History should not be a bar to fairer marriage laws.”
Republicans should be worried. Bennett flip-flops under political pressure. He is not concerned with Christian values and doesn’t support the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
President Trump has made good on many promises to “Make America Great Again”, but Bennett is a wildcard at best. He will not be consistent, as he has made clear, and is not a conservative, by any standard.