Merkley Decries Senate Vote to Advance Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Senate narrowly voted to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

“Hamilton said that the Senate’s ‘advice and consent’ duty was to determine if nominees are of fit or ‘unfit character.’ By that standard, Brett Kavanaugh fails every test. Every nominee to the Supreme Court, regardless of his or her legal views, should possess the following attributes:

A commitment to transparency. As nominees to the highest court in the land, Supreme Court nominees should be willing to open their full records to the Senate’s and the public’s scrutiny. Kavanaugh failed this test when he allowed the Trump White House to withhold unprecedented numbers of documents from the Senate’s review.

A lack of partisanship. Americans can only trust the courts if they believe them to be above partisan politics. Kavanaugh failed this test when he blamed serious allegations against him on ‘revenge on behalf of the Clintons’ and threatened Senate Democrats that ‘what goes around comes around.

Independence. A good judge is, above all, independent and impartial, treating all parties equally. By contrast, Kavanaugh was chosen because he believes that the President should not be investigated nor indicted, and he showed his complete lack of independence from this President when he falsely stated that ‘no president has ever consulted more widely’ on a Supreme Court nomination.

A belief in government of, by, and for the people. Judges should be guided by the ‘We the People’ principles at the heart of our constitution. Kavanaugh has failed this test by ruling again and again for the powerful over the people, advancing the gains of a small group of powerful elites over the interests of workers, women, and consumers.

Unimpeachable character. Americans must be able to trust that their judges are individuals of the highest possible character. Brett Kavanaugh has utterly failed this test. He has repeatedly given misleading statements to the Judiciary Committee concerning many different periods of his life. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that Judge Kavanaugh has a serious record of mistreating women. Two women, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, have credibly alleged that Judge Kavanaugh committed sexual assaults against them. These two women have been treated horrifically, just as they feared they would be if they came forward. Dr. Ford repeatedly asked that corroborating witnesses be heard in the Judiciary Committee hearing, but they refused to hear from a single one. Dr. Ford and Ms. Ramirez collectively provided 28 names to the FBI to follow up on their allegations. The FBI, at the direction of the White House, did not talk to a single one. If the Committee or the FBI had talked with those individuals, they almost certainly would have found corroboration that these appalling allegations are true. This is an enormous transgression of justice.

“On every level, Brett Kavanaugh has completely disqualified himself to sit on the highest court in our land. The Senate still has one final chance tomorrow to do the right thing. I am praying that it will.”