Hirono Opposes Trump’s Pick for Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) issued the following statement on Monday.

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Today, Donald Trump selected Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court from a list hand-picked by two organizations with a far-right ideology — the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.

As a federal appellate court judge, Brett Kavanaugh’s record is replete with decisions favoring the privileged and powerful. His writings and rulings show a determination to restrict women’s reproductive freedom and strip federal agencies of their power to protect our water, air, and safety.

Significantly, Judge Kavanaugh has advocated that Congress legislate to exempt U.S. presidents from civil and criminal actions while in office. This is of deep concern at a time when Donald Trump is a defendant in numerous civil lawsuits and is the subject of a significant criminal investigation.

Judge Kavanaugh has not earned the benefit of the doubt. He has the burden of proof to demonstrate his ability to be independent of the president and exercise unbiased and independent judgment.

No one should forget that the majority leader [Mitch McConnell] changed Senate rules for the expressed purpose of confirming Donald Trump’s ideologically driven nominees with the barest majority rather than the 60 votes required for previous Supreme Court nominees. Judge Kavanaugh will have an opportunity to show the American people what kind of justice he might be.

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Other members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus also weighed in:

• Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “Trump’s Supreme Court justice nominee, Judge Kavanaugh, represents a direct and fundamental threat to the rights and health care of hundreds of millions of Americans. I will oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court.”

• Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “The newfound urgency to fill Justice Kennedy’s #SCOTUS seat from many of the same people who refused to even consider President Obama’s nominee is transparent opportunism that represents everything Americans hate most about politics today.”

• Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “A woman’s right to choose, LGBTQ+ rights, and health care for millions — this is #WhatsAtStake with the SCOTUS vacancy. Regardless of who President Trump’s nominee is, we must unequivocally oppose anyone who will trample our rights and roll back the clock on progress.”

• Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “President Trump has announced a Supreme Court nomination that could reverse generations of progress for this country. With his selection of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the president has put at risk, among other important issues, women’s right to make decisions about reproductive healthcare, pre-existing conditions protections, key environmental protections, the capacity of the Court to be an independent check on executive authority, and equal protection under the law. The American people deserve a voice before this nomination proceeds.”

• Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “Kavanaugh would be disastrous. Stay engaged and urge your senators to consider all that is at stake if he makes it to the #SCOTUS.”

• Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to reject the president’s attempt to fundamentally alter the balance of the court and further chip away at the protections guaranteed by our Constitution.

“It is no coincidence that a president under federal investigation and the defendant in multiple civil lawsuits is nominating a judge who has pushed Congress to pass legislation exempting the president from civil actions and criminal investigations while in office. Judge Kavanaugh believes, as Trump does, that the president should have broad executive authority. He consistently sided with arguments that supported that position during his 12 years as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“Moreover, Judge Kavanaugh has consistently opposed the fundamental rights of women. Trump is on a crusade to overturn Roe v. Wade, a pursuit that will likely result in a lawsuit that could come before the Supreme Court. In October, Kavanaugh dissented when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit stopped the Trump Administration from blocking a 17-year-old migrant from obtaining an abortion. Kavanaugh wrote, ‘Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion.’

“He is a pro-business conservative to the right of Justice Kennedy, who opposes tougher gun laws and environmental regulations. Judge Kavanaugh supports the Trump Administration’s efforts and methods to undermine the Affordable Care Act, especially when it comes to Americans dealing with pre-existing conditions.”

“We cannot allow this president to reverse decades of progress to end discrimination, expand healthcare coverage, and advance the rights of women, workers, the LGBTQ community, minority communities and Native people.”

• Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “President Trump just nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. We need someone who will protect voting rights, fight for women’s reproductive rights & defend the rights of the LGBT community. I urge my Senate colleagues to reject him.”

• Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “To no one’s surprise, Donald Trump nominated a conservative justice who will endanger Roe v. Wade, threaten to gut the Affordable Care Act and infringe on our voting rights. Since his campaign, Trump’s motives have been clear: he’s taking swipes at vulnerable communities and hard-working families with every chance he gets.

“Brett Kavanaugh comes from a roster of extremists approved by right-wing organizations that are committed to pushing a regressive agenda. This appointment is the most momentous in a generation and it will affect historic decisions made for the next half century – we can’t let that time be defined by partisan rulings that hurt our communities and strip away our rights.

“When it comes to protecting workers, women, people of color, immigrants and anyone who is worried about their constitutional rights being taken away, the Supreme Court is our last line of defense. The American people deserve a nominee who can prove that they will judge cases with an open mind, without a political agenda and ultimately with fairness. I’m incredibly concerned that Kavanaugh does not meet even this basic qualification, and I don’t believe he is able to defend justice for all people. I wholly oppose this nomination and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.”

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