Trump asks business groups for help pushing Kavanaugh confirmation

• Jul 07, 2018

The White House on Monday immediately played up Brett Kavanaugh’s pro-business, anti-regulation record and is asking industry trade groups for help pushing his confirmation through the Senate.

As President Donald Trump introduced the nominee during a Monday evening ceremony, the White House was touting Kavanaugh’s record battling “overregulation“ in a document sent to industry stakeholders.

“Judge Kavanaugh protects American businesses from illegal job-killing regulation,” the White House wrote in an email delivered just after 9 p.m.

“Kavanaugh helped kill President Obama’s most destructive new environmental rules” and has “led the effort to rein in unaccountable independent agencies,” the White House wrote.

With Republicans holding only a sliver of a majority in the Senate, deep-pocketed business groups could have enough influence, especially in an election year, to help swing votes in Kavanaugh’s favor. In early July, the White House asked industry leaders in Washington for input and several groups — including the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Home Builders — declared a preference for Kavanaugh.

Business groups on Monday were asked to help push his confirmation, according to two people familiar with the request.

In the one-page document , which was obtained by POLITICO, the White House wrote that Kavanaugh has overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections, net neutrality and other issues. Most recently, in PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he favored curtailing the power of independent federal regulators.

“Because of their massive power and the absence of Presidential supervision and direction, independent agencies pose a significant threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional system of separation of powers and checks and balances,” Kavanaugh wrote.

Among the stakes for industry is a judicial doctrine that looms large for corporate America. In a 1984 opinion in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc., the Supreme Court said the Environmental Protection Agency had the power to change a regulatory definition to make it easier for air-polluting industrial plants to get permits for new equipment.

The case was a win for the plants, but has come to haunt industry because it gave broad power to federal regulators. Corporations have been working nearly 35 years to overturn it. In 2014, Kavanaugh called Chevron “nothing more than a judicially orchestrated shift of power from Congress to the Executive Branch.”

“Chevron is a big issue,” said Karen Harned, who leads the NFIB’s legal center, speaking before the nomination. “It’s led to this vicious cycle where administrative agencies get more and more power. For small business, regulations are a top concern.”

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