WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy represents a threat to abortion rights.
“In selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, President Trump has put reproductive rights and freedoms and health care protections for millions of Americans on the judicial chopping block,” Schumer said in a statement. “His own writings make clear that he would rule against reproductive rights and freedoms, and that he would welcome challenges to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reiterated Schumer’s sentiments.
“Everyone on the (Federalist) list would overthrow Roe v. Wade,” Warren told MSNBC. “He (Kavanaugh) is a political animal.”
Warren added: “He [Trump] has someone [Kavanaugh] committed to rolling back Roe v Wade, rolling back health care, and someone who will help Donald Trump if he gets in serious trouble.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy is extreme.
“Brett Kavanaugh’s views are far outside the mainstream when it comes to health care, executive power, privacy and gun safety,” Feinstein said in a tweet. “We need a nominee who understands that the court must protect the rights of all Americans, not just political interest groups and the powerful.”
Republicans praised Kavanaugh’s appointment.
“President Trump has made a superb choice. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an impressive nominee who is extremely well qualified to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
McConnell added: “Judge Kavanaugh has sterling academic credentials. He is widely admired for his intellect, experience, and exemplary judicial temperament. He has won the respect of his peers and is highly regarded throughout the legal community. And his judicial record demonstrates a firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) praised Kavanaugh too, but took a wait-and-see approach to the appointment.
“Judge Kavanaugh is obviously well-educated and has an impressive resume, but I look forward to getting to know him better throughout the confirmation process,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I want someone who’s smart, intellectually curious and willing to test their assumptions against the arguments of those who disagree with them.”
Kennedy added: “During the Senate Judiciary hearings, I plan to delve into how he interprets a statute and how he would interpret the Constitution when it’s not clear. I want to understand how he thinks the judiciary fits in the Madisonian balance of separation of powers. I want to know if he respects the Bill of Rights and understands why we have a Bill of Rights.”
Trump announced Kavanaugh’s appointment at a White House news conference on Monday night.
Kavanaugh, 53, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He was appointed to that position by President George W. Bush in 2006.
Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale Law School and served as a clerk for Justice Kennedy upon completing that program. He is married and has two daughters. Kavanaugh is Roman Catholic.
The nominee likely faces a contentious confirmation battle.
Republicans occupy 51 Senate seats. Democrats occupy 49 seats. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is battling brain cancer and has been absent since last December.
Several protesters stood outside the U.S. Capitol Monday night carrying signs aimed at stopping Kavanaugh.