Saturday, October 6, 2018

Sen. Collins' speech in favor of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Immediately after Sen. Susan Collins delivered a speech explaining why she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Mark Joseph Stern wrote for Slate:

"The Republican senator declared herself undecided until the last possible minute, but it now appears that this very public ambivalence was a charade. Collins’ address started as a bad-faith attack on Democrats, then transformed into an astoundingly naïve defense of Kavanaugh’s jurisprudence. It concluded with a condescending sop to Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, suggesting that she’d misidentified her alleged assailant. The speech might as well have been written by Mitch McConnell and Ed Whelan. It was an embarrassment and a travesty."

Stern made the following key points in his article.

He explained that "the Judicial Crisis Network, a dark-money group funded largely by a single anonymous donor" which previously spent $7 million to oppose Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland (who was never confirmed) and $10 million to support Trump's pick Neil Gorsuch (who was confirmed), just spent $12 million to support Kavanaugh. The liberal organization Demand Justice, by contrast, spent only $5 million to oppose Kavanaugh. Thus, he says, Sen. Collins was "hypocritical" to complain about the political opposition to Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh ruled that religious employers could limit their employees' access to contraception (Priests for Life v. HHS). Collins presented this ruling as a political compromise, which Stern believes to be an inaccurate description, as it delivered to religious conservatives "everything they wanted." Kavanaugh also sided with the Trump administration said that a judge's permission wasn't enough to allow an undocumented minor in federal custody to have an abortion (Garza v. Hargan), indicating that he may not follow precedent on abortion rights.

Some Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices, like David Souter, have supported Roe v. Wade. But that, Stern explains, is exactly "why the Republican legal establishment’s refrain is 'No More Souters.' It’s why the Federalist Society created a network of conservative lawyers unified by their opposition to Roe. It’s why Donald Trump, who campaigned on overturning Roe, outsourced judicial nominations to the Federalist Society. And it’s why Kavanaugh, a Federalist Society loyalist, was selected for this seat." Sen. Collins' expressed hope that Kavanaugh will be one of the Republican appointees who supports Roe is thus disingenuous.

WATCH: Kavanaugh's statement in late September 2018 responding to accusations of sexual assault, described by some as a "tantrum."

WATCH: Collins' speech on Oct. 5, 2018 saying that she will vote to confirm him.

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