Six Key Senators Take Wait-and-See Approach to Kavanaugh

By Susan Jones | July 10, 2018 | 5:54am EDT
President Trump is flanked by two liberal Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, at a June 2017 meeting at the White House. (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - Six U.S. Senators, three Republicans (Collins, Murkowski and Paul) and three Democrats (Manchin, Heitkamp, and Donnelly) are being closely watched as the battle begins in earnest over President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Here are their statements on President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to succeed the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy:

Susan Collins (R-Maine):

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.

Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

This evening the President nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. While I have not met Judge Kavanaugh, I look forward to sitting down for a personal meeting with him. I intend to review Judge Kavanaugh’s 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.

The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Judiciary will also review Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications prior to these hearings and issue a rating. I intend to carefully consider that rating, the information obtained through personal meetings, my own review of Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications and record, and the views of Alaskans in determining whether or not to support him. My standard for reviewing Supreme Court nominees remains rigorous and exacting.

Rand Paul (via Twitter)

I look forward to the upcoming hearings, reviewing the record, and meeting personally with Judge Kavanaugh, with an open mind.

Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

As the Senator from West Virginia, I have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent on a nominee to fill Supreme Court vacancies and I take that responsibility seriously. Just as I did when Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch were nominated, I will evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s record, legal qualifications, judicial philosophy and particularly, his views on healthcare.

The Supreme Court will ultimately decide if nearly 800,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions will lose their healthcare. This decision will directly impact almost 40% of my state, so I’m very interested in his position on protecting West Virginians with pre-existing conditions. As I have always said, I believe the Senate should hold committee hearings; Senators should meet with him, we should debate his qualifications on the Senate floor and cast whatever vote we believe he deserves. I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh, examining his rulings and making a determination of whether to provide my consent.

Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)

All that changes for me is that we now have a nominee. As I stressed to the president during our meeting two weeks ago, one of the most important jobs of any U.S. Senate is to fully vet any nominee to serve on the Supreme Court, the highest court in our land. Now I’ll get to work to thoroughly review and vet his record to provide advice and consent for filling this vacancy, which is part of my constitutional duty. I take this job incredibly seriously and I expect the nominee to meet with senators, have a hearing, and receive a comprehensive review of his record.

As an attorney and former attorney general, I understand the importance of this position for our judicial system and our country. I have no doubt that many members of Congress and outside groups will announce how they stand on the nominee before doing their due diligence and instead just take a partisan stance – but that isn’t how I work. An exhaustive and fair process took place for Justice Gorsuch, who I supported, and it should and must take place again now. And that’s the kind of leadership North Dakotans expect from their senators.”

Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)

As I have said, part of my job as Senator includes thoroughly considering judicial nomination, including to the Supreme Court. I will take the same approach as I have previously for a Supreme Court vacancy. Following the president’s announcement, I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

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