Kevin Daley, DCNF
Vice President Mike Pence pressed the Trump administration’s case for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Friday, as Senate Democrats moved to delay consideration of his nomination.
Speaking in Washington at a luncheon of the Republican National Lawyers Association, Pence lavished praise on Kavanaugh, and accused Democrats of senseless obstruction.
“If we lived in a more respectful time, Judge Kavanaugh would be overwhelmingly confirmed by the U.S. Senate,” the vice president said. “Sadly Senate Democrats have no intention of giving this good man and this brilliant jurist the consideration the deserves.”
He went on to note that more senior members of the current court like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were confirmed by lop-sided bipartisan majorities, ideological considerations notwithstanding.
As lawmakers review Kavanaugh’s work product, Democrats have sought access to records he generated as staff secretary to former President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2006. Pence commended the Republican congressional leadership for setting “guardrails of reasonable expectation around document production.”
Pence also promised that Kavanaugh’s record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit put him in the tradition of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Judge Kavanaugh has proven his support for our first freedom: religious liberty,” Pence said. “He stood for the Second Amendment, and he’s always enforced the Constitution’s clear and unambiguous limits on government power.”
Speaking broadly, Pence boasted of the administration’s general successes on judicial confirmations. President Donald Trump has named 130 nominees for the federal courts, 53 of whom have been confirmed. Of these, 26 are appointees to the federal appeals courts, who issue final rulings in the overwhelming majority of cases.
The vice president said the administration set a record for appeals court confirmations in the first year of a presidency in 2017.
Shortly before the vice president delivered his remarks, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California formally asked GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, which are currently scheduled to begin on Sept. 4. Grassley is chair of the GOP-controlled Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and Feinstein is the ranking Democrat. Feinstein’s request is supported by every Democrat on the committee.
Feinstein also asked Grassley to schedule a special session of the committee to discuss the confirmation process, which they have styled rushed and partisan. If Grassley refuses, Senate rules provide that a majority of the committee can schedule a meeting over his objections. As the GOP has an 11-10 majority on the panel, at least one Republican senator would have to support Feinstein’s appeal.
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