Rhode Island Leaders Weigh in on Kavanaugh’s Appointment to Supreme Court

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


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Trump's appointment draws stark opinions

Before midnight on Monday, a number of Rhode Island's elected officials and candidates had weighed in on President Donald Trump's appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice and candidate for U.S. Senate, Judge Robert Flanders, issued the following:

"During the course of the confirmation process one hopes the candidate's credentials, judicial opinions, and commitment to equal justice under the law are the focus of the proceedings, rather than partisan sound-bite attacks, election-year grandstanding, and, generally, behavior in the U.S. Senate that does not elevate or contribute to a national civic dialogue and the betterment of our country.  It is a U.S. president's prerogative to select and present a nominee to the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Senate's prerogative to advise and consent, or otherwise fail to approve the candidate as a Supreme Court Justice. 

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is a fine jurist with a long written record of public service as an appellate judge. Although I would wait to see how the hearings go before deciding whether I would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, he comes to this appointment with the requisite background and experience. Thus, absent some unforeseen development during the Senate hearings, I would be inclined to vote favorably on this nomination.

Unfortunately, my opponent Sen. Whitehouse’s obstructionist record of radical knee-jerk partisanship is so extreme that if he were tasked with vetting the nomination of past Supreme Court giants such as Chief Justice John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sandra Day O'Connor, or Louis Brandeis, he would reject them out of hand just so that he could make a scene and defy a Republican President. It is time Rhode Island had a true U.S. Senator, rather than a hyper-partisan. I look forward to the confirmation hearings."

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U.S. Senator Jack Reed

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:

“I have a Constitutional duty to thoroughly vet Supreme Court nominees and I intend to rigorously do so on behalf of all Rhode Islanders.

“I opposed Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lower court seat because of his overtly partisan background.  I did not believe he was a good fit to serve on the DC Circuit then, and I do not think he is a good fit for the Supreme Court now.

“President Trump had an opportunity to put forth a mainstream nominee who could bring the country together.  Instead, he once again chose partisanship and the powerful over the interests of hardworking Americans.

“A Justice Kavanaugh would pose a serious threat to Americans’ access to health care and their civil liberties.  He has demonstrated a pattern of putting the interests of powerful corporate litigants above citizens, consumers, and working families.

“All senators should demand that Judge Kavanaugh pledge to recuse himself on any issue involving President Trump’s civil or criminal liability, particularly any issues that may arise from the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation.

“It is imperative that the Supreme Court be fair, independent, and free from any questions about its legitimacy.  I believe the Senate should pause consideration of this nomination until the special counsel has concluded the investigation and the American people are given all the facts.”

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U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse


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