President Trump has nominated appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The President’s nomination sparked protests Monday night outside the Supreme Court and has Democrats vowing a fierce fight to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
From FOX News: Kavanaugh graduated from Yale College and Law School, clerked for two appeals judges, and then the U.S. Supreme Court for the departing Justice Anthony Kennedy.
He served as a prosecutor on Kenneth G. Starr’s independent counsel investigation into Whitewater, as an associate counsel and then staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House, and then as a judge for more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit appeals court.
Kavanaugh has written no opinions on abortion or gay marriage and no major opinions on free speech or religion, nor has he displayed any sympathies for the criminal defense bar.
Comment on Kavanaugh’s nomination from US Senator Tom Carper:
Upon Justice Kennedy’s retirement, Senator Carper noted that, in adherence to the McConnell Standard, he was not prepared to move forward with any nominee until the American people have had their say in November.
“Picking a nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court is not a reality show. It should not be a choice outsourced to ideologues like those at the Heritage Foundation and The Federalist Society. Picking and reviewing a Supreme Court nominee should not be a hurried process – it should be thoughtful and deliberative. That is especially true when the stakes are this high. The next Supreme Court justice will make decisions that will affect our democracy, our economy and our environment for generations to come.
“Leader McConnell has said that he wants the Senate to move swiftly to consider Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, despite the precedent he set when he led a yearlong blockade of Judge Merrick Garland – an eminently qualified and consensus pick. But, unlike in 2016, we are considering another Trump nominee just four months before a national election that could shift control of Congress. Our president’s 2016 campaign is currently under investigation – an investigation that has led to an ever-growing list of guilty pleas and criminal indictments. The balance of our nation’s highest court is at stake.
“If Leader McConnell insists on rushing this nominee through before the American people can have their say in November, then Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy must be thoroughly vetted in the public eye. The Senate must hold Judge Kavanaugh accountable for his deeply concerning record over the past 12 years on the bench. In the years that Judge Kavanaugh has served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, he has revealed his true colors, and his substantial record over that time period has proven to be a profound disappointment. The American people must be given a real opportunity to understand clearly how Judge Kavanaugh views the most important issues of our time. We should do what Leader McConnell so shamefully refused to do for Judge Garland.
“Unlike in the case of Merrick Garland, Judge Kavanaugh’s extreme record over the last 12 years stands in stark contrast to what the majority of the American people want. Overwhelmingly, the American people support protections for those living with pre-existing conditions. They support women having the freedom to make their own health care decisions and the freedom for people to marry the person they love. They support the right to privacy and equal access to the voting booth. They support independent checks on executive power. I have yet to meet a Delawarean who doesn’t want to ensure that their family can breathe clean air and drink clean water. With the stakes so high and Americans’ stances on these critical issues so clear, I say without hesitation: bring on the fight.”
Comment from US Senator Chris Coons on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court:
“While Judge Kavanaugh has strong legal credentials, having graduated from Yale Law School, clerked in Wilmington, Delaware for an exceptional jurist, Judge Walter Stapleton of the Third Circuit, and clerked for Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court, I’m concerned about the type of justice he would be on the Supreme Court,” said Senator Coons. “As a Senator, and in particular, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will do my job in the coming weeks and months. I will meet with Judge Kavanaugh, thoroughly review his extensive record, and ask him direct, hard questions in both public and private settings. I will also do my best to make as clear as possible to the people of Delaware and the nation as a whole what it would mean to have Judge Kavanaugh on the highest court in the land. The American people deserve to know whether Judge Kavanaugh will act to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, sharply restrict access to abortion, further roll back worker’s rights and environmental protections, expand the corrosive role of money in our politics, reverse the historic progress we’ve made for LGBTQ rights, and more.
“All Americans will be impacted by the decisions that the next Supreme Court justice will help shape. To every Delawarean and all Americans: I urge you to get involved, speak out, and make your voices heard on whether you believe Judge Kavanaugh should become a Supreme Court justice.”
And Maryland US Senator Ben Cardin released this statement:
“The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent for a president’s judicial nominees. This is something that I take seriously, even as the Republican Leadership – Senator McConnell especially – has made a mockery of this process and degraded the Senate with his hypocrisy on filling this seat quickly while Merrick Garland was not even given a hearing, much less a vote.
“Republicans and Democrats should be appalled by the blatant extremism demonstrated by the president’s search for a new associate justice. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump repeatedly said that he would use Roe v. Wade as a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, going so far as saying in one debate: ‘I am putting pro-life justices on the court.’ To that end, Judge Kavanaugh, like the others under public consideration, was picked by President Trump off a list of judges pre-approved by right-wing advocacy groups for their willingness to turn back the clock on civil rights and civil liberties, reproductive choice, equality, the Affordable Care Act, clean air and clean water, and protection from the abuses of corporate and political power, including the President of the United States.
“Most recently, Judge Kavanaugh argued that a young undocumented woman should not have access to an abortion even though she already met the strictest of requirements laid out by Texas law. And he argued in a dissent for Priests for Life v. HHS that the Affordable Care Act’s religious accommodation to the contraceptive-coverage policy makes employers ‘complicit in facilitating contraception or abortion.’ I am also gravely concerned that Judge Kavanaugh would undermine the rule of law and allow unchecked abuse of presidential power by deferring criminal investigations and prosecutions of presidential misconduct until after President Trump leaves offices. The Supreme Court was designed as an independent check and balance against both the executive and legislative branches of government. It should not be a rubber stamp on the extreme partisan positions of the president.
“Before each senator takes office, we swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; we also are supposed to serve as a check and balance to the president, as well as the courts. Each federal judge takes an additional oath to ‘administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.’ Both Republicans and Democrats should reject such a process that obliterates the separation of powers and puts us on a predetermined path of denying the civil rights and civil liberties of Americans. Before working to ram through Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, I would urge my colleagues to think carefully about what this decision will do to the Constitution and the rule of law in this country.”