Dems slow Kavanaugh Supreme Court vote as both sides up rhetoric

09/14/18 5:30 AM | by

Dems slow Kavanaugh Supreme Court vote as both sides up rhetoric

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week voted to put off Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination vote after Democrats, spearheaded by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, asked for a delay.

Kavanaugh, following a week of hearings, was scheduled for debate by the committee on Thursday to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, which now, after an hour-long debate, won’t take place until Sept. 20.

Dems on the committee sought but failed to have more records released from the judge’s past time in the George W. Bush White House at the same time that Feinstein sparked media buzz with talk of a mysterious letter, reported by the Intercept on Wednesday, concerning an alleged incident involving Kavanaugh, 53, and a woman while they were in high school.

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” said Feinstein in a statement. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

Speaking to the letter forwarded to the FBI, Kerri Kupec, a White House spokeswoman, pointed out in a release Thursday that, “Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators — including with Sen. Feinstein — sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him.”

The Senate’s top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, spoke on the chamber’s floor, standing up for the jurist who has been a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for more than a decade and has answered more submitted questions from lawmakers than every Supreme Court nominee in history combined.

“But by trying to slime Judge Kavanaugh, the Democrats are only underscoring one of his most impressive traits — his widely-acclaimed talent for thinking through all parties’ perspectives and engaging fairly with the full range of views, regardless of his personal beliefs,” said McConnell, who has vowed to get the judge confirmed by the end of the month. “This and all the other specious attacks that were trotted out said nothing about Judge Kavanaugh’s actual record.”

Gun argument

Kavanaugh’s record of interpretation of the Second Amendment has drawn much attention during his confirmation hearings. In 2011, he dissented from the majority in the D.C. Circuit’s ruling on Heller II, which challenged the city’s prohibition on “assault weapons,” saying in part, “In my judgment, both D.C.’s ban on semi-automatic rifles and its gun registration requirement are unconstitutional under Heller.” The judge went on to say that the guns were in common use and are protected under the Constitution.

While in front of the Judiciary Committee, he stood his ground on questioning from Feinstein and others, based on his Heller II dissent, on if semi-auto rifles such as those banned in D.C. were protected under the Constitution since they were in common use. His answers, to the effect that they were protected, drew condemnation from gun control advocates and prominent Democrats.

“We’re all well aware that assault weapons are prevalent in our country. That’s like saying water is wet,” said Brady Campaign co-president Avery Gardiner. “What Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t seem to understand is that assault weapons are weapons of war that have no business in places of peace.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week picked up the argument in a Twitter broadside, concluding with “In sum: Kavanaugh doesn’t think judges should consider public safety or allow common-sense gun laws. Meanwhile, 96 Americans are killed with guns every day.”

During her failed bid for the White House in 2016, Clinton went on record against the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller ruling itself after expressing an interest in an Australian-style gun ban.

Meanwhile, gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association have said the Kavanaugh appointment, which would keep the nation’s high court in a conservative majority until a current justice dies or retires, is so important that “The Second Amendment is at stake. America is at stake.”

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