WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement at the conclusion of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senator Cardin was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the hearings of both Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
“What I have witnessed over the last few days has been a struggle between Republican efforts to ram through a Supreme Court nomination – brushing off any and all criticism of the process and the nominee – and legitimately fulfilling a constitutional responsibility to provide ‘advice and consent’ to presidential nominees for the highest court in the land. Based on what I saw and heard – and more often, did not hear from Judge Kavanaugh— as well as his record as a judge and his writings, any reasonable person would have cause to be concerned, even fearful, of what lays ahead for the Supreme Court and individual civil liberties in this country.
“This entire process has been rushed and the hearing should have been postponed. I had joined my Senate Judiciary Democratic colleagues in asking that these hearings be postponed until we, the Senate, could have adequate time to review Judge Kavanaugh’s full record, just as we did during the confirmation process for all other Supreme Court nominees. I requested a meeting with Judge Kavanaugh before the hearings began so that I could talk one-on-one with him about my policy concerns. But the request was denied by the White House. The 42,000-page document dump the night before the hearings started was an especially egregious display of contempt for the constitutional process. Much of the documentation that should have been provided to the Senate still was not provided. I also agree with Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein that no Senate or committee rule grants the chairman unilateral authority to designate documents committee confidential and keep them from the American people. I was on the Judiciary Committee for the Sotomayor and Kagan hearings and I heard the calls from my Republican colleagues for more information and a need for full disclosure, which was provided. Those same colleagues now turn a deaf ear to the idea that the Senate should treat all nominees the same regardless of who controls the process.
“I do not and would not oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination simply on the basis that I am a Democrat and he is a Republican nominee. But I have spent the last few weeks talking with Marylanders about my concerns about this nomination, especially the hypocrisy of a confirmation process that is disconnected from Senate precedent. I cannot support Judge Kavanaugh based on (1) his judicial track record, (2) his partisan epiphany about whether presidents should be investigated while in office after he investigated President Bill Clinton for Independent Counsel Ken Starr, and (3) what little we have seen of his White House record. I am concerned that Judge Kavanaugh is inclined to turn back the clock on civil rights and civil liberties, voting rights, reproductive choice, equality, the Affordable Care Act, workers’ rights, clean air and clean water, and protection from the abuses of corporate and political power, including the President of the United States. President Trump himself promised a litmus test for his Supreme Court nominees, including reversing Roe v. Wade.
“Our Constitution created the Supreme Court as an independent check and balance against both the executive and legislative branches of government. It should not be a rubber stamp on presidential efforts to undermine the rule of law or the independence of the judiciary, self-pardon, or derail Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election. The next Justice of the Supreme Court should not be predisposed to enrich corporations over consumers, or hollow out protections against abuses of power, as Judge Kavanaugh’s record as an appellate court judge reveals.
“This confirmation process is a turning point in American history. I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. I urge all my colleagues to think carefully, before they cast their vote, about the future of our nation and the American people. The consequences of their actions will effect this nation for the next generation.”