Vermont Business Magazine Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch issued the following statements Monday after President Donald Trump announced he is nominating Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice on the US Supreme Court.
Leahy: "I have served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the nomination hearings of every sitting member of the Supreme Court. I have never seen so much at stake with a single seat as I do today. A woman’s right to make her own health decisions, marriage equality, efforts to curb global warming emissions, core post-9/11 civil liberties — all were upheld because of Justice Kennedy’s vote. All that, and much more, is at risk today.
"The Constitution doesn’t direct the President to nominate justices to the Supreme Court with the advice and consent of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. That is the role specified by the Constitution for the United States Senate. Yet the President has considered only individuals pre-approved by these far-right special interest groups — groups that seek to elevate the rights of corporations and the powerful over those of hardworking Americans, including by overturning the Affordable Care Act’s protections for those with preexisting conditions. Farming out this nomination to extreme ideologues only further divides our nation while threatening real harm to the Court’s independence.
"Based on an initial review of Judge Kavanaugh’s record, we are right to be concerned. President Trump views the independent judiciary as a political branch. He sees the courts as an extension of his power, not a check against it. Yet Judge Kavanaugh’s record reveals an endorsement of this expansive view of presidential power — views that ultimately may place the president above the law. And as a judge he has consistently attempted to dismantle environmental protections and to limit women’s rights. I also still have questions about how truthful he was during his 2006 confirmation hearing regarding his involvement in Bush-era detention policies.
"The heavy burden is now on Judge Kavanaugh to use his nomination hearing to be forthright with the American people. He must not evade fundamental questions that judicial nominees have answered for decades until recently. He needs to explain why we should believe he would be a justice for all Americans, independent of the President and the ideologically driven interest groups that selected him."
Sanders: "Let us be clear: President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be a rubber-stamp for an extreme, right-wing agenda pushed by corporations and billionaires. The coming Senate debate over the replacement of retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is about the future of Roe v. Wade, campaign finance reform, voting rights, workers' rights, health care, climate change, environmental protection and gun safety.
"Brett Kavanaugh, contrary to 200 years of Supreme Court precedent, believes a president 'may decline to enforce a statute . . . when the president deems the statute unconstitutional.' He ruled against a migrant teenager seeking to be released from custody in order to obtain an abortion. He believes a president can only be indicted after he leaves office and should not be subjected to civil suits while in office. He ruled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was unconstitutional. And he would not uphold the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.
"I do not believe a person with those views should be given a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. We must mobilize the American people to defeat Trump’s right-wing, reactionary nominee."
Welch: “The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is the result of a reckless decision by President Trump to outsource his solemn responsibility to fill court vacancies to a right-wing group determined to advance his extreme agenda. If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh’s elevation will cement a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court for a generation or more. At risk are long-established civil liberties and hard-won rights and opportunities for women, minorities, LGBTQ Americans, workers, and many others.
"Our Founding Fathers established the judiciary as a separate and independent branch of government, not a rubber stamp for any president. It is more important now than ever that the Supreme Court fulfill its constitutional role as an independent check on the powers and policies of the executive branch. The Senate should reject this nomination and demand the president bring forth a new nominee in the historic tradition of an independent Supreme Court.”
Source: Leahy, Sanders, Welch 7.9.2018