WASHINGTON, DC, SEPT. 6, 2018: Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Chris Van Hollan (Md.) broadcast from outside the Supreme Court on the afternoon of Thursday, September 6 to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Both senators pointed to Kavanaugh’s conservative beliefs and jurisprudence, the effect his rulings could have on abortion rights and universal access to healthcare (and Obamacare), and his expansive views on presidential power.
Van Hollan said, “When it comes to his views on executive power, he’s an extremist. … That’s why Trump picked him.”
Kavanaugh has expressed deference to presidential power in the past. In a 2009 article in the Minnesota Law Review, he wrote, “We should not burden a sitting President with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecutions.” In 1999, Kavanaugh expressed skepticism of the historic ruling in US v Nixon, which forced Nixon to produce his White House tapes. Would Justice Kavanaugh vote to force Trump to respond to a subpoena by Mueller? That’s their concern.
Merkley and Van Hollen also referenced emails leaked to the New York Times showing Kavanaugh was skeptical of whether Roe v Wade should be treated as established law. Not only does that put abortion rights at risk, they said, the lack of transparency and vetting in the confirmation process, in which documents have been reviewed by a Republican lawyer before being released, is worrying.
Kavanaugh has not answered questions about his particular views on abortion or executive power, refusing to take a position on what he calls “hypotheticals.”