McConnell: 'What We'd Like to See Is a Few Open Minds' About Judge Kavanaugh

By Susan Jones | July 11, 2018 | 5:03 AM EDT

Senate Republican leaders call out Democrats for opposing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee before they even knew who it was. (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - "The president really could not have done a better job of picking an extraordinarily well qualified nominee," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We believe it's possible to handle this nomination fully by the fall," he said, adding that objections from some Democrats have nothing to do with the nominee, but are reflexively anti-Trump:

He's one of the premiere legal talents in the country. Everybody's familiar -- he's got a long record that people can examine. What we'd like to see is a few open minds about this extraordinary talent. Maybe we'll see more than we have here at the beginning.

As several of my colleagues have pointed out, it's pretty clear that a significant number of the Democratic Senators didn't care who the nominee was at all. Whoever President Trump sent up, they were opposed to.

Well now you've got an individual with extraordinary credentials, and we'll see what kind of argument they make against his qualifications.

McConnell said Kavanaugh will have an opportunity to "meet with everybody who's got an open mind. It sounds like there are not a whole lot of open minds on the other side." He also said he hopes a "few Democrats" will agree to the nomination.

'Knee-jerk reaction'

Several other Senate leaders, appearing with McConnell at Tuesday's news conference, also expressed disappointment that Democrats would reject a Supreme Court nominee before even knowing who it was:

"I know people must be wondering what in the world is going on where Senate Democrats are opposing a nominee yet to be named, where unfortunately it's pretty clear we saw this with Judge Gorsuch as well -- that Democrats, given the current state of their politics, are unwilling to defy their base and vote for well qualified nominees," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

"So they find it a safer political position for them to take to say they will oppose all nominees by President Trump."

Cornyn noted that policy should be made by Congress and the Executive Branch, while "good judges" interpret the law as it is written -- "not as they would wish it to be."

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) called it "amazing" that some Democrats were attacking Trump's nominee before he was even named: "So it's pretty clear that theirs is a knee jerk reaction."

Thune also called for a "timely" confirmation process: "It doesn't have to be delayed, and I know Democrats are going to do everything they can to throw roadblocks in the way and everything but the kitchen sink at this nominee."

'Mindless partisanship'

"What we saw last night was -- from many on the left -- simply mindless partisanship," Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said. "I'm going to read a press release that was sent out from one liberal organization.

'In response to Donald Trump's nomination of XX, to the Supreme Court of the United States, the following statement was released. Trump's announcement today is a death sentence.'

"Apparently nominee XX was a death sentence," Gardner said. "It didn't matter who he chose, what he selected, who he selected, they would've opposed it simply because of mindless partisanship."

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Democrats are using the same arguments against Kavanaugh that they used when Justice Anthony Kennedy was nominated 30 years ago and when Chief Justice John Roberts was nominated by President George W. Bush:

"It's the same playbook again and again and again, and before the nomination was made, Nancy Pelosi came out to say that she was -- her goal is to avenge President Obama and reject anybody that President Trump nominated, and she went on to say if it's the last thing she did."

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