Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday criticized views of Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative judge tapped by President Donald Trump to fill a key vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“[Donald Trump] thinks the courts as well as the Justice Department should be an arm of the White House,” Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said in a press conference outside the Supreme Court. “I’ve never seen so much at stake with just one seat.”
If nominated, Kavanaugh, a Washington D.C. Circuit Court Judge, would replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was widely considered the swing vote on the Supreme Court.
Kennedy announced he would retire on June 27, and Trump made his decision about the replacement public on Monday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2018
While Kennedy was considered a moderate conservative, Kavanaugh would be “among the most conservative Justices in Supreme Court history,” California Senator Dianne Feinstein said.
New York Senator Charles Schumer stressed the scope of what is at stake with the potential appointment of Kavanaugh.
“For every American who cares about women’s health, about protections for people with preexisting conditions, about civil rights, labor rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental rights, now is the time to fight,” Schumer said.
Brett Kavanaugh's record indicates that he would be among the most conservative justices in Supreme Court history, his views are far outside the mainstream and there’s every reason to believe he would overturn Roe v. Wade. #WhatsAtStake pic.twitter.com/ILkkf4twk4
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) July 10, 2018
Meanwhile, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, who was a clerk for then Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, addressed Kavanaugh directly.
“I’m here with sadness to say, Judge Kavanaugh, you don’t belong in this building as a Justice,” said Blumenthal. “You have demonstrated an extraordinary hostility to the rights and liberties precious in this country that make this nation great.”
Kavanaugh, if confirmed, is expected to uphold Trump’s 2016 election promise to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that protected a woman’s right to have an abortion.
California Senator Kamala Harris made that the main focus of her time at the podium saying, “If you are a young woman in America, or if you care about a young woman in America, pay close attention to this nomination… It will forever change your life.”
Trump promised to nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
We can't gamble our rights away — send your senators a message right NOW demanding that they get Brett Kavanaugh's clear position on Roe on the record before they vote on his nomination. https://t.co/iyNRIzJKsP
— ACLU (@ACLU) July 10, 2018