Trump picks Kavanaugh
July 10, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday he personally wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned, but has not talked about abortion rights with President Trump's conservative Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

"I stand for the sanctity of life," Pence told CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday. "This administration, this president, are pro-life, but what the American people ought to know is that, as the president said today, this is not an issue he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh. I didn't discuss it with him either."

While campaigning in 2016, Pence, a conservative Christian, said he wants to see Roe v. Wade on "the ash heap of history," and he told Bash while his hope is for it to be overturned, "I haven't been nominated to the Supreme Court." Pence didn't just talk about abortion — he also said that "of course there's a plan" to reunite immigrant families separated at the border, and the government knows where all of the children are located. Catherine Garcia

July 10, 2018

It's always the emails.

While Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy, worked as an aide to former President George W. Bush, he produced tens of thousands of emails and memos that are public record. But Fix the Court, a Supreme Court watchdog group, said Monday that the documents are being withheld by the Department of Justice.

The group filed requests in 2017 to see "more than a million" documents from Kavanaugh's five years in the Bush White House, but the DOJ and the National Archives and Records Administration, tasked with preserving government records, hasn't released them. When Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was first nominated to her seat, Talking Points Memo points out, all of her documents from her time working under former President Bill Clinton were published online. Those public records became a part of the debate over her eventual confirmation.

All of Kavanaugh's public records, including documents from his time as a law clerk for Kennedy, should have been released by now, according to Freedom of Information laws. Fix the Court on Tuesday sued the federal government to uncover the records, criticizing officials as making it "as difficult as possible to obtain public records from Supreme Court nominees." The group urged the Trump administration to release Kavanaugh's documents immediately, "so the American people and their representatives in the Senate can make a more informed judgment on the nominee." Summer Meza

July 10, 2018

The White House has released its list of references vouching for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, with statements of approval coming from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and more. The 32-name list contains members of both the House and the Senate, with one glaring omission — it doesn't contain a recommendation from a single woman, the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Vanita Gupta, observed.

The omission of any women to vouch for Kavanaugh is at odds with his nomination speech, which he used to highlight himself as an advocate for women, Newsweek points out. "I teach that the Constitution's separation of powers protects individual liberty, and I remain grateful to the dean who hired me, Justice Elena Kagan," he said. "As a judge, I hire four law clerks each year. I look for the best. My law clerks come from diverse backgrounds and points of view. I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women." Kavanaugh also made reference to his mother, his wife, and his two daughters, Margaret and Liza.

Kavanaugh would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative swing vote. Activists on both sides are watching closely for if Kavanaugh might help overturn Roe v. Wade. Two of the Senate's key votes are both Republican women — Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — and both have promised a "careful" vetting of Kavanaugh, rather than immediately signing on. Read the full list of lawmakers who have given their support for Kavanaugh here. Jeva Lange

July 10, 2018

Now that President Trump has announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, people are taking a closer look at what Kavanaugh has said publicly about abortion rights.

Kennedy is a conservative who often served as a swing vote, and activists on both sides of the abortion debate have been discussing whether his successor might help overturn Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh, 53, is a conservative, but NBC News reports he has not made many public statements or legal decisions about abortion rights.

Kavanaugh is federal appellate judge on the D.C. Circuit, and during his confirmation hearing in May 2006, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked if he considered Roe v. Wade "an abomination." Kavanaugh responded that if confirmed, he would "follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the court. It's been decided by the Supreme Court." Schumer asked what he personally thought about the ruling, but Kavanaugh said it wasn't "appropriate" to reveal his own opinion.

Last October, he was part of the decision regarding a pregnant undocumented teenager in a detention facility seeking an abortion. The court ruled that the girl could briefly leave the government's custody in order to have the procedure, but Kavanaugh dissented, writing that the Trump administration admitted the teen had the right to an abortion, but the court should not have decided she had the right to an "immediate abortion on demand." He also argued that the procedure could have waited until she was released to an American sponsor, as the delay would not have imposed an undue burden on the girl's right to an abortion. Catherine Garcia

July 9, 2018

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted on Monday that he knows exactly why President Trump chose Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee for the Supreme Court.

"Brett Kavanaugh was the only nominee on Trump's shortlist who has written that a sitting president should not be indicted," he said. "It's not a coincidence that he was selected." Markey is referring to an article Kavanaugh wrote in 2009 for the Minnesota Law Review, in which he said former President Bill Clinton should never have been investigated while in the White House, because indicting a president still in office is a major distraction, "especially in times of financial or national-security crisis."

Markey had more choice words for Kavanaugh, calling him a "right-wing ideologue" whose "record on important issues portends a rubber stamp for an agenda that would move us back as a country. The Senate must reject this nominee." Catherine Garcia

July 9, 2018

President Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his pick for the Supreme Court on Monday night, and hundreds of protesters quickly mobilized.

The protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court, and began chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Kavanaugh has got to go!" Some demonstrators said they don't want to see the court lean too much to one side, and activist Kevin Camps told USA Today he's worried that a more conservative court will undermine environmental protections. "This is a huge moment for our country," he said. "What's impossible to exaggerate is that this is the final word on most issues in this country."

Several senators spoke to the crowd, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Sanders said people need to be ready to defend Roe v. Wade, and while this is a "tough fight," it's "a fight we can win," adding, "we have the American people on our side, now we have to go state by state by state to make sure senators do what their constituents want." Catherine Garcia

July 9, 2018

All eyes are on Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), considered by many as the key swing votes when it comes to the confirmation of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Both women are moderates who support abortion rights. Collins, who has said she won't support a nominee hostile to Roe v. Wade, released a statement saying Kavanaugh has "impressive credentials and extensive experience, having served more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals." Collins promised to conduct a "careful, thorough vetting" of Kavanaugh, "as I have done with 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."

Murkowski said she also looks forward to meeting with Kavanaugh, and intends to review his "decisions on the bench and writings off the bench, and pay careful attention to his responses to questions posed by my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee." She will consider the American Bar Association's rating of Kavanaugh, her own review of his record, and "the views of Alaskans in determining whether or not to support him." Catherine Garcia

July 9, 2018

In a glowing statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, "a superb choice," and urged his fellow senators to "put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command."

Kavanaugh is "impressive" and "extremely well qualified" to serve on the Supreme Court, McConnell said, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge has a "firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written." McConnell, who blocked former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick of Judge Merrick Garland, added that he looks forward to "the Senate's fair consideration of his nomination," and to meeting with Kavanaugh. Catherine Garcia

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