President Trump announced Monday that Brett Kavanaugh is his nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The pick came less than two weeks after Kennedy announced he would retire. Members of the Maine congressional delegation weighed in shortly after the 9 p.m. announcement.

Sen. Susan Collins (R): “Judge Kavanaugh has impressive credentials and extensive experience, having served more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. I will conduct a careful, thorough vetting of the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court, as I have done with the five previous Supreme Court justices whom I have considered. I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to questioning him in a meeting in my office.”

Sen. Angus King (I): “It’s troubling that the president’s search for a potential Supreme Court justice seemed to start and end with a list of names supplied by an outside group. Tonight’s selection of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was included on this list, seems to be the culmination of a process that further erodes traditional norms. This is one of the most consequential decisions any senator will make, and in evaluating Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, I will thoroughly and thoughtfully research his positions, record, and judicial temperament – but I will do so with some skepticism, because the president has made clear, both on the campaign trail and after being sworn in, the type of Supreme Court Justice he would seek to nominate with regard to important issues like a woman’s right to choose, the Affordable Care Act and the limits of executive power. I am inclined to take him at his word that he would find a nominee who meets his criteria – but his standards and mine are vastly different on these topics. I’ve voted against ideologically extreme judges that do not reflect Maine’s values a number of times before, and, if my research indicates that Judge Kavanaugh is another such nominee, I will not hesitate to do so again.”

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D): “Brett Kavanaugh is a far-right choice to sit on our nation’s highest court. He has an egregious record of undermining a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions – from stopping a woman from accessing an abortion to allowing a woman’s boss to deny her birth control coverage. While President Trump has made his loyalty to corporations and disdain for women and minorities known over the past 18 months, the confirmation of a justice who shares his loyalties will leave a permanent imbalance on the court and could erode the rights of millions. Within the next year, the Supreme Court will not only evaluate the future of health care access, voting rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, labor rights, and our environment, it may decide the president’s guilt or innocence in the Mueller investigation. I strongly urge my Senate counterparts not to approve any nominee who was chosen by President Trump until the investigation into his campaign’s collusion with Russia has concluded.”

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R): “Brett Kavanaugh has an impressive tenure of service, as a jurist and as a clerk at the Supreme Court. While the House of Representatives is not involved in the nomination process, I’m hopeful the White House will work with the Senate, including Senators Collins and King, on approving a Justice for the Supreme Court who will serve Mainers and the Nation dutifully and honorably.”

Maine Political Report



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