#SEN. COONS, 9/20/18
Thank you for writing to me about President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Kennedy’s vacant Supreme Court seat. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
The next Supreme Court Justice will help shape the future of this country for decades, from playing a pivotal role in defining the scope of the President’s power and determining whether the President is above the law, to impacting essential rights enshrined in our Constitution. At stake are the right to privacy, including rights to marriage and contraception, religious liberty and the freedom to worship as we choose, the ability to participate in our democracy as full and equal citizens, and the promise of equal protection under the law.
I have supported dozens of President Trump’s judicial nominees, and I have opposed many others. When Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, I encouraged President Trump to nominate a candidate who could earn broad bipartisan support. When he nominated Judge Kavanaugh, I engaged in this process in good faith. However, after reviewing the portion of Judge Kavanaugh’s long record of public service that is available to us, meeting with him privately, participating in a robust four-day hearing, submitting detailed written questions, and hearing from thousands of Delawareans, I decided to vote against his nomination.
Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly embraced an interpretation of executive power that is outside the judicial mainstream. In the hearing, I asked Judge Kavanaugh why he has repeatedly criticized Morrison v. Olson , a 30-year-old precedent holding that Congress can create an independent counsel with authority to investigate the President. I asked him if he still believes what he said in 1998, that a President can fire at will a special counsel criminally investigating him. Judge Kavanaugh refused to answer my questions directly or meaningfully. Given ample opportunity to respond in writing, Judge Kavanaugh said he “ha[d] nothing to add” and refused to state whether a President has to comply with a grand jury subpoena. I am concerned that Judge Kavanaugh holds a sweeping view of executive power that would allow the President to fire a special counsel who is investigating him simply for doing his job. I believe that Judge Kavanaugh’s view puts this President, or any President, above the law. That should concern every American.
I am also concerned that Judge Kavanaugh has a demonstrated pattern of viewing regulations as limitations on the liberty of corporations, rather than reforms that can enhance our collective freedom. This view would undercut our ability to protect our environment, promote fairness in campaign finance, safeguard consumers, and promote access to health care, which would impact millions of Americans.
Our Supreme Court must be a constitutional bulwark against violations of law, deprivations of freedom, and abuses of power. I do not believe Judge Kavanaugh will provide that critical check.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I am honored to represent Delaware in the United States Senate and value hearing from Delawareans on issues of concern. My website, www.coons.senate.gov , can provide additional details about my work in the Senate, including legislation and state projects. I hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues that matter to you.
#SEN. TOM CARPER, 10/12/18 - Thank you for contacting me to express your views regarding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. I appreciate receiving your input about this important matter, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
When I was privileged to serve two terms as governor of Delaware, I had the opportunity to nominate dozens of men and women to serve on Delaware’s highly-regarded courts, including the Delaware Supreme Court and Court of Chancery. In that role, I sought to nominate the best and brightest candidates who understood the law and were willing to work hard, make difficult decisions, and build consensus. However, there were three qualities that were most important to me: judicial temperament, impartiality, and truthfulness.
More than 12 years ago, I met with Judge Kavanaugh in my office on Capitol Hill when the Senate considered his nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Back in 2006, I voted my hopes over my fears and supported his nomination. Unfortunately, over the last decade, many of my worst fears have come true. On October 5, 2018, I spoke on the Senate floor to express my opposition to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. You can watch the full speech here:
With that said, I believe the greatest threat Judge Kavanaugh poses to our country is with respect to our shared environment. Delaware—along with other downwind Northeast states—sits at the end of what is known as “America’s tailpipe.” Dirty air from other states, polluted by emissions from cars and power plants, drifts east and accounts for 90 percent of Delaware’s air pollution. In order to protect all communities from harmful air pollution—including those in the First State—we need strong federal protections that ensure all states are being good neighbors and playing by the same rules. Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh has often ruled to weaken these protections. A review of Judge Kavanaugh’s more than 300 opinions from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reveals that, almost 9 out of 10 times, he has sided with those who would weaken or block environmental protections over those who would strengthen them. In fact, Judge Kavanaugh has never dissented in a case that would weaken environmental protections. In all my years in public service, I have yet to meet a Delawarean who doesn’t want their family to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, and it is my concern that Judge Kavanaugh’s record does not reflect a commitment to ensuring these basic needs for all Americans.
The stakes are always high when the Senate considers any Supreme Court nominee. However, in the case of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, I believe the stakes were even higher due to the injustice done to Judge Merrick Garland, who waited 293 days for a hearing and vote that never happened. Many of my Republican colleagues refused to even meet with Judge Garland. A good man was treated badly, and so was our Constitution. With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy this past July, my colleagues and I were given an opportunity to right the historic wrong done to Judge Garland. Sadly, instead of choosing a consensus nominee—someone who can restore our trust among each other and the trust the American people have in us—someone like Merrick Garland—President Donald Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh from the same bench on which Judge Garland still sits.
Ultimately, Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed by a vote of 50 to 48 in the Senate. Moving forward, it is my hope that the Supreme Court will continue to protect the rights and freedoms of all Americans and ensure they receive equal protection under the law. Even though I realize we do not see eye-to-eye on this critical nomination, I am grateful that you took the time to contact me. Please don’t hesitate to contact me in the future regarding other matters of importance to you.
Thank you once again for contacting me. Please don’t hesitate to contact me in the future regarding other matters of importance to you.
#REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER, 10/19/18
Thank you for contacting me about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. I appreciate your input on this important matter.
After the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court seat. During Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation process, we heard from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified that she was sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh at a party they both attended while in High School. I joined my colleagues in urging the Senate to give these allegations the respect and seriousness they deserve. Anything short of that is an insult to women and girls everywhere and sends a chilling message that survivors should not come forward because they will not be believed.
The United States Constitution gives the Senate sole authority to confirm presidential nominees. Therefore, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I was not afforded a vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination. On October 6, 2018, the Senate confirmed Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 51 to 49.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me on this important matter. I hope that you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you, as your input helps me to better represent you in Congress. If you would like to stay up to date on my work in Delaware and Washington, you can visit www.bit.ly/LBREmail to sign up for my newsletter, "Lisa's List".