Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Judges

This is another installment of an ongoing series of posts summarizing 2020 Democratic presidential candidates' views on judges and the courts.  All posts in this series can be viewed here.


On Brett Kavanaugh: On September 27th, 2018, ahead of the impending Senate vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Mayor Buttigieg stated on his Twitter account, “Today is a grim and dramatic living enactment of the relationship between a Congressional GOP obsessed by tactics and power, and the anguished human beings they govern.” [1]

On September 28th, 2018, following a statement by then-Senator Joe Donnelly that he would not be voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Mayor Buttigieg Tweeted in support of Donnelly’s decision, “Indiana’s @SenDonnelly has made a very politically difficult decision. He is on the ballot this year. Will he be rewarded, or punished, for his principled stand? The choice is yours. Vote.”[2]


On Neil Gorsuch: In a January 31st, 2017 posting on Twitter, Mayor Buttigieg stated, “Let's be sure the nomination of Judge Gorsuch is handled with the same fairness that Senate Republicans showed Judge [Merrick] Garland.”[3]


His Opposition to Trump’s Nominees: In a July 9th 2018 posting on Twitter following the announcement of Brett Kavanaugh as nominee to the Supreme Court, Mayor Buttigieg stated, “This is what we’ve come to: An unpopular president, under investigation, bids an even more unpopular GOP Senate to confirm to the highest court a judge who has argued that presidents should be immune to criminal investigation.”[4]


Position on Expanding the Supreme Court: In a March 21st, 2019 interview on podcast “Deconstructed,” Mayor Buttigieg stated, “We definitely need to do structural reform on the Supreme Court. Adding justices can be part of the solution but not in and of itself, it’s not enough. It’s neither necessary nor sufficient. What we’ve got to do is depoliticize it and one solution that I’ve been discussing in recent weeks is structuring it with 15 members but five of whom can only be seated by a unanimous consensus of the other 10.”[5]


What kind of Supreme Court justice would he appoint?: During a May 19th, 2019 town hall discussion on Fox News, Mayor Buttigieg stated, “Being a Democrat with pro-choice values who lives and governs in Indiana, I get that there are lots of passionate views on this . . . Even some of my supporters believe differently than I do but that's what I believe, and I believe that the next president needs to be ready to protect those rights.”

“First of all, and the simplest thing, is appointing justices and judges who recognize that [abortion] is part of American freedom,” he said. “Another is to make sure that we’re not starving America of resources — not just for that kind of reproductive care, abortion care, but all kinds of reproductive care.”[6]


His views about the role of the courts: During the same town hall discussion on Fox News, when asked about whether he would support any restriction on abortion whatsoever, Mayor Buttigieg stated, “I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up on when you draw the line that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line. And I trust women to draw the line . . . That decision [to have an abortion] is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.”[7]


Last Updated: May 23, 2019


Works Cited: