Monday, 19 November, 2018

Here's what Susan Collins said about Trump's Supreme Court pick

Brett Kavanaugh testifies during a second Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing Brett Kavanaugh testifies during a second Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing
Johnnie Parks | 11 July, 2018, 07:01

Democrats' hopes of blocking President Trump's Supreme Court justice nominee were waning yesterday after centrist senators gave a cautious welcome to Brett Kavanaugh.

"Schumer is using that notion - that in general, it is bad policy to allow presidents to be pursued by prosecutors while in office - to imply that Kavanaugh thinks Trump shouldn't be investigated, and to question how he would rule as a judge", said Michigan State University law professor Brian Kalt. Instead, he asked them to weigh the judge on his qualifications.

Others took a more cautiously hopeful tone, with Live Action president Lila Rose simply "encourag [ing] Brett Kavanaugh to uphold the Constitution and support the most basic human right - the right to life - for all people". Since 2006, he has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1987, and received his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1990.

On the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Kavanaugh wrote in 2011 that a federal law known as the Anti-Injunction Act, which covers tax issues, meant that the court lacked the ability to consider whether the law's individual mandate violated the Constitution. The pick came less than two weeks after Kennedy announced he would retire.

Kavanaugh said the "radical" majority had essentially created a "constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in USA government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand".

Republicans hold a slim, one-seat Senate majority, and a party-line vote would lead to Kavanaugh's confirmation by the narrowest of margins. "Judge Kavanaugh possesses an impressive resume, an outstanding legal mind, and an exemplary legal temperament".

Kennedy's position in the court's center guarantees a fierce confirmation fight.

At the same time, Republicans are urging a half dozen Democratic senators, largely those who are up for re-election in Trump-won states, to back the president's choice.

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"President Trump has put reproductive rights and freedoms and health care protections for millions of Americans on the judicial chopping block", Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement moments after Trump's announcement. "He has very strong views about a sitting president not being interfered with, with criminal charges or civil lawsuits".

"The Republicans have enough senators for a confirmation, and the Republican senators have not signaled any real appetite to say no", he said, adding that even if Kavanaugh were blocked, it's unlikely Trump's next pick would be any more palatable to Democrats.

Kavanaugh is a favorite of the GOP legal establishment, and his arrival as President Donald Trump's nominee was greeted on Capitol Hill with praise from Republicans and skepticism from Democrats.

Bob Salera, a campaign spokesman for Senate Republicans, said Casey has "given up any pretense of being a moderate voice" by opposing Trump's nominee sight unseen.

Gorsuch's nomination became possible because McConnell blocked Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy in 2016.

McConnell reportedly anxious that Kavanaugh's paperwork trail could make him harder to confirm.

Kavanaugh, a conservative federal judge who previously served in the administration of George W. Bush, has been tapped to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, a longtime swing vote for whom Kavanaugh once clerked. There is litigation arising from plans by certain states including Louisiana and Kansas to stop reimbursements under the Medicaid insurance program for the poor for Planned Parenthood, a national abortion provider. One of the main reasons each would have for supporting Kavanaugh is to head off a reelection bid in which they might face a right-bent anti-abortion primary opponent and then a viable Democrat.

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