WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on her colleagues to oppose the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh as his nominee at the White House on Monday.
Kavanaugh, 53, has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006, writing more than 300 opinions, including 11 that have been affirmed by the Supreme Court, according to the announcement from the White House. Before becoming a judge, he served in President George W. Bush’s administration, first as an associate counsel and then senior associate counsel and subsequently as assistant to the president and staff secretary. Kavanaugh clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Anthony Kennedy, and for judges on the 3rd and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals. Kavanaugh also served as a counsel for the office of independent counsel under Ken Starr and as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.
Jim McGowan, of Windham, called the nomination of Kavanaugh fine and dandy.
“I expect equality for everybody, even the bad people, from a Supreme Court justice,” McGowan said. “He sounds like a good pick. He worked as a clerk for the guy he is replacing so he knows the job.”
Larry and Marsha Booker, of Vermont, called Kavanaugh too conservative, fearing he will upset the balance in the court.
“I always thought justice was supposed to be blind and that judges were not supposed to take sides,” Marsha said. “Everything now is based on liberal or conservative.”
Judge Merrick Garland, 64, who is the chief U.S. circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, would be a better choice, Larry said.
Kennedy, who held the swing vote in many closely divided cases on issues such as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights and the death penalty, is retiring.
Replacing him with a committed conservative, who could potentially serve for decades, will fundamentally alter the balance of the court.
“I think [Trump] made the right decision,” said Mark Libruk, of Hudson. “Let [Kavanaugh] do what he can do. No matter who he picked, someone has to do the job.”
Gillibrand called on her colleagues in the Senate to oppose Kavanaugh’s appointment during a teleconference Tuesday, saying that he is not the right choice for the country.
Gillibrand argued many of the same points of concern that have existed since Trump announced he had a list of 25 judges he planned to choose from weeks leading into his ultimate choice: that Kavanaugh will be the final nail in the coffin for the Affordable Care Act, will block attempts for campaign finance reform and will overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Trump was clear what the list of 25 meant for him,” Gillibrand said. “I’m sure there are plenty of people who would be acceptable to both parties.”
When asked what the odds are of the Democrats, who are the minority conference in the Senate, blocking Kavanaugh’s appointment, Gillibrand said anything is possible.
“It really depends on the American people,” Gillibrand said. “If they call out against the nomination, anything could happen.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., headed up the Democratic opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination the night of the announcement.
“Judge Kavanaugh’s long track record of partisan politics comes with a long paper trail,” Schumer tweeted Monday night. “The Senate must be able to access and adequately review all docs, emails and paperwork associated with Kavanaugh before the process moves forward.”
With the dissenting opinion, U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, released a statement Monday night supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent choice,” according to Faso’s statement. “Judge Kavanaugh has compiled an outstanding record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He has a long record of decisions being upheld by the Supreme Court and is someone who understands that the role of a judge is to interpret our constitution and laws, and not to make law from the bench.”