WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued the following statement on President Trump’s announcement that he would nominate Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.
“The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent for a president’s judicial nominees. This is something that I take seriously, even as the Republican Leadership – Senator McConnell especially – has made a mockery of this process and degraded the Senate with his hypocrisy on filling this seat quickly while Merrick Garland was not even given a hearing, much less a vote.
“Republicans and Democrats should be appalled by the blatant extremism demonstrated by the president’s search for a new associate justice. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump repeatedly said that he would use Roe v. Wade as a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, going so far as saying in one debate: ‘I am putting pro-life justices on the court.’ To that end, Judge Kavanaugh, like the others under public consideration, was picked by President Trump off a list of judges pre-approved by right-wing advocacy groups for their willingness to turn back the clock on civil rights and civil liberties, reproductive choice, equality, the Affordable Care Act, clean air and clean water, and protection from the abuses of corporate and political power, including the President of the United States.
“Most recently, Judge Kavanaugh argued that a young undocumented woman should not have access to an abortion even though she already met the strictest of requirements laid out by Texas law. And he argued in a dissent for Priests for Life v. HHS that the Affordable Care Act’s religious accommodation to the contraceptive-coverage policy makes employers ‘complicit in facilitating contraception or abortion.’ I am also gravely concerned that Judge Kavanaugh would undermine the rule of law and allow unchecked abuse of presidential power by deferring criminal investigations and prosecutions of presidential misconduct until after President Trump leaves office. The Supreme Court was designed as an independent check and balance against both the executive and legislative branches of government. It should not be a rubber stamp on the extreme partisan positions of the president.
“Before each senator takes office, we swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; we also are supposed to serve as a check and balance to the president, as well as the courts. Each federal judge takes an additional oath to ‘administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.’ Both Republicans and Democrats should reject such a process that obliterates the separation of powers and puts us on a predetermined path of denying the civil rights and civil liberties of Americans. Before working to ram through Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, I would urge my colleagues to think carefully about what this decision will do to the Constitution and the rule of law in this country.”