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D.C. Weighs in on Kavanaugh Pick

Reaction to the nomination of conservative D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh flooded electronic transoms Monday (July 9) following the President's prime time announcement of his chosen successor to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will be exiting at the end of the month.

That response was divided along political and ideological lines and came from Capitol Hill, K Street and the activist community.

MoveOn Civic Action executive director Anna Galland called Kavanaugh an extreme nominee "beloved by those on the far right," adding: "Kavanaugh’s history makes clear he is a narrow-minded elitist who would favor the wealthy and powerful. Everything from women’s basic rights to health care to clean air, and from civil rights to workers’ rights to immigrants’ rights, is at stake in this fight. It’s a long list, and everyone in this country will be affected."

Related: Trump Taps Kavanaugh For High Court

The Family Research Council said Kavanaugh would call the "balls and strikes according to the Constitution....Judge Kavanaugh has a long and praiseworthy history of judging as an originalist, and we look forward to having a justice with his philosophical approach on the Court."

Kavanaugh at the White House announcement of his nomination, pledged to interpret the constitution as written.

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights said it would be "an abdication of their constitutional responsibility to merely rubber stamp Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. We will use every tool in our arsenal to ensure that Judge Kavanaugh is fully and properly vetted by the Senate."

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called him a superb candidate and one of the most qualified to come before the Senate.

“As we have always done when reviewing nominees for lifetime-appointed judgeships, the Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct a fair and comprehensive evaluation of the nominee’s background and qualifications followed by hearings where we’ll hear directly from the nominee as we fulfill our advice and consent responsibility," said Grassley.

“Brett Kavanaugh is a qualified, mainstream jurist who possesses the right temperament and experience for the position, and I’m pleased to see his nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“I will continue to study Judge Kavanaugh’s record and follow his hearing closely, but I have grave reservations about this nominee," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “Judge Brett Kavanaugh has a troubling record of undermining civil liberties, opposing environmental protection, favoring corporations over workers, and undermining reproductive rights."

“Throughout his service, Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated a strong commitment to the rule of law and to carefully considering the text and history of the Constitution, making him an ideal choice to be the next Supreme Court justice," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.). "Judge Kavanaugh has a particularly strong record of policing the separation of powers, seeking to ensure that lawmaking remains the prerogative of elected members of Congress.

Kavanaugh said he would begin Tuesday (July 10) to start meeting with senators.

"Brett Kavanaugh is an exemplary choice for the United States Supreme Court," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). "He has shown unwavering support in defending the Constitution, our nation’s founding principles, and the rule of law."

Putting its money where its mouth is, Americans for Prosperity said it would put seven figures into a campaign to help secure his confirmation.

Vanita Gupta, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said Kavanaugh was unfit to serve and, like Trump, would protect the rights of "the wealthy and powerful."

“Kavanaugh believes that the president is above the law, and he would not be a check on Trump’s abuse of power," said Gupta. "Kavanaugh wrote that the president should have ‘absolute discretion’ to determine whether and when to appoint or fire a special counsel like Robert Mueller. And Kavanaugh has said that a sitting president should not be criminally indicted, no matter what evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered. No wonder President Trump has nominated this man to the Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide whether he, his family, or his aides can be held accountable by the special counsel."

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.