WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) blasted liberal groups and Senate Democrats for mobilizing against President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced replacement for Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
“Already we’re seeing from liberal outside groups and some of the Democratic leadership a desperate attempt to block the nominee-any nominee — by whatever means necessary,” Grassley said in a floor speech late Monday afternoon. “Democrat leaders have pledged to block anyone from the president’s list without even knowing who that nominee is and regardless of his or her qualifications.”
The White House released a list of 25 potential candidates two weeks ago following Kennedy’s announcement that he will leave the court effective July 31. Kennedy, a Republican appointee, often with voted with liberals on cases involving abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action.
Trump has said he will announce Kennedy’s replacement this evening at 9 p.m. EDT. The president has narrowed the list to Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C., Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Judge Raymond Kethledge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, according to media reports.
Since Kennedy’s announcement liberal groups have spent millions on television and radio ads warning that any of the nominees on the White House list represent a threat to abortion rights, gay rights, women’s rights and collective bargaining rights.
Several Senate Democrats have planned a protest rally on the Supreme Court steps following Trump’s announcement later tonight.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said any of the names of the White House list of potential candidates is unacceptable to Democrats.
“Whomever the president selects tonight, if that nominee is from the pre-approved list selected by [Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard] Leo and the Heritage Foundation, everyone ought to understand what it means for the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions and for the protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer said in a floor speech on Monday afternoon. “Those rights will be gravely threatened.”
Schumer’s remarks were preceded by a similar declaration by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
“In a nation with over 700 sitting federal judges, many of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, it is outrageous that President Trump will nominate from a list of just 25 dictated to him by the Heritage Foundation,” Casey said in a statement on Monday. “This list is the bidding of corporate special interests hell-bent on handing health care over to insurance companies, crushing unions that represent working men and women, and promoting policies that will leave the middle-class further behind. Any judge on this list is fruit of a corrupt process straight from the D.C. swamp.”