WASHINGTON (ABC7) — President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh Monday evening.
Democrats are already lining up against Kavanaugh as too conservative.
But Senate Majority Leader McConnell says senators should give him "the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command."
Below are reactions from Democrat and Republican lawmakers:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
Read Kaine's full statement below:
“A Supreme Court nomination is the most consequential appointment that the Senate ever considers. As I have with nominees in the past, I will carefully review Judge Kavanaugh’s character, legal decisions, and writing to determine whether he should be confirmed to this crucial position. There are critical issues at stake, and four in particular I’ll be focusing on:
“Would Judge Kavanaugh respect rulings upholding the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees protections for Americans with preexisting conditions?
“As a longtime civil rights lawyer, I’m focused on whether Judge Kavanaugh would safeguard the civil rights of all Americans regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation and ensure that all are protected from discrimination.
“Would Judge Kavanaugh protect women’s freedom to make their own reproductive health care decisions?
“And would Judge Kavanaugh be independent and willing to exercise appropriate checks against the Presidency, especially given this President’s alarming claims that he has the power to fire Special Counsel Mueller or pardon himself?
“I’m encouraging Virginians to send me feedback on what they’re looking for in a Supreme Court justice, and I won’t make a final decision until I have met one-on-one with Judge Kavanaugh and observed his performance in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. It could have catastrophic consequences if Leader McConnell rushes to confirm a nominee. There should not be a vote until the American public has a chance to speak in November.”
Virginia GOP nominee for U.S. Senate Corey Stewart (R-Va.)
Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.)
Read Warner's full statement below:
“There is much at stake with President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created by Justice Kennedy’s retirement. The next Supreme Court justice will determine whether women will maintain their constitutional right to reproductive health care; whether we will continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination; whether we are a country that lives by our values when it comes to voting rights, women’s rights, workers' rights, and the rights of LGBT Americans. The stakes are made that much higher by an Administration that routinely violates longstanding norms and pushes ethical boundaries past the breaking point. We need a Supreme Court that can act as a check on the executive branch now more than ever.
“Time and time again, President Trump has said that he will only nominate candidates who will vote to undermine those rights and who will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. That simple fact, and that this nominee comes from a list put together by ultra-conservative groups who do not support these core values, give me grave concerns that Judge Kavanaugh is not the right pick to serve on our nation’s highest court.
“I plan to carefully examine Judge Kavanaugh's record and judicial philosophy. I cannot and will not support a nominee who would take this country backwards by undermining our fundamental rights and American values.”
Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
“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.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Read McCain's full statement below:
“I want to thank Justice Anthony Kennedy for his distinguished service on the United States Supreme Court. Throughout his tenure, Justice Kennedy delivered consequential rulings on some of history’s most important issues, and his imprint on the nation’s highest court will remain for many years to come.
“In selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy left by Justice Kennedy, President Trump has chosen a nominee with impeccable credentials and a strong record of upholding the Constitution. Over the course of Judge Kavanaugh's impressive legal career, he has built a reputation as a fair, independent, and mainstream judge who has earned widespread respect from his peers. One of the Senate's highest constitutional responsibilities is to provide advice and consent on nominations to the Supreme Court, and I look forward to the Senate fulfilling this critical duty through a fair and thorough confirmation process.”
Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ)
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Read Pelosi's full statement below:
“The President’s selection is a clear and disrespectful assault on the fundamental rights of women and on the quality, affordable health care of the American people. Judge Kavanaugh’s long history of opposition to the full, fundamental right of every woman to make her own decisions about her body, family and health care poses a grave threat to women’s rights and to our Founders’ promise of liberty and justice for all. If he proves as eager an executor of the President’s bitter campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade and sabotage Americans’ health care as his record suggests, a woman’s right to choose will be repealed and the health coverage and economic security of 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be in grave peril.
“Once again, the President is using his nomination as a destructive tool on a generation of progress for workers, women, LGBTQ Americans, communities of color and families, and to radically reverse the course of American justice and democracy.
“The Senate must subject the Kavanaugh nomination to rigorous scrutiny before holding a vote on sending him to the highest court in the land. We stand with the American people in opposing any efforts to install a radical vote against women’s freedom and families’ health care on the Court.”
Protesters held a rally in front of the Supreme Court following Trump's nomination. ABC7's AnnaLysa Gayle has more below: