U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and Senate Democrats’ hysteria over his nomination. Although Judge Kavanaugh is a well-qualified, mainstream nominee, Senate Democrats have, in some cases, distorted the facts to make their case against the respected D.C. Circuit Court judge.
Thune’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, if there’s one thing we’ve been able to rely on over the past half century or so, it’s Democrat hysteria over Republican Supreme Court nominations.
“No sooner does a Republican president announce a nomination than the Democrats are off.
“It doesn’t matter who the nominee is: The playbook’s the same.
“The Democrats warn that equal rights are in jeopardy.
“That our system of government may not survive.
“In fact, that Americans may not survive.
“In the lead-up to Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation, the head of one liberal organization stated that there was “substantial evidence” that if Gorsuch’s ‘egregious views were to become law, Americans’ lives … would be put at risk in untold ways.’
“I’m happy to report that a year into Justice Gorsuch’s tenure on the Supreme Court, Americans seem to be doing okay.
“Fast forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, and once again Democrats are predicting that the sky will fall if a Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee is confirmed.
“But faced with an eminently well-qualified, mainstream nominee, they’ve been forced to resort to distortions or outright conspiracy theories to make their case.
“Their statements have been so extreme that they’ve already been called out more than once by the mainstream media.
“The New York Times – not exactly known as an apologist for the Republican Party – published a fact check with the headline “Democrats Overstate Kavanaugh’s Writings on the Affordable Care Act.”
“The Washington Post published a fact check that described a Democrat characterization of Kavanaugh as an ‘extreme distortion.’
“And two tweets offering a truly absurd conspiracy theory about Justice Kennedy’s resignation received ‘Four Pinocchios’ from the Washington Post – a rating that qualifies the tweets as, and I quote, ‘whoppers.’
“Mr. President, at the root of Democrats’ frenzy is their belief that the only good Supreme Court justice is a Supreme Court justice who shares their political beliefs – and who will rule in support of them.
“And that’s a very disturbing point of view.
“Our system of government is based on the rule of law.
“But the rule of law depends on having judges who will rule based on the law and the facts, not their personal opinions.
“Once judges start ruling based on their political opinions or their feelings about what they’d like the law to be, then we’ve replaced the rule of law with the rule of individual judges.
“But that’s exactly what Democrats are pushing for.
“They’re looking for Supreme Court judges who will rule based not on the law but on their personal beliefs.
“More specifically, they’re looking for judges who will rule based on Democrats’ beliefs.
“Just look at Democrats’ statements since Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“Democrats aren’t interested in whether Judge Kavanaugh is qualified or will rule in accordance with the law.
“Instead, they’re concerned about his views on specific issues – and whether those views line up with Democrats’ opinions.
“Democrats want a Supreme Court that will ratify the opinions of the Democrat Party, whether or not those opinions are in line with the law and the Constitution.
“Mr. President, of course judges have political opinions.
“Of course judges have personal feelings.
“But when you’re a judge, your job is to leave those things at the courtroom door.
“Your job is to judge based on the law and the facts, even when you don’t like – especially when you don’t like – the outcome.
“As Justice Gorsuch has said, ‘a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge — stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.’
“Mr. President, I don’t know how Judge Kavanaugh would rule on the cases he’d face as a member of the Supreme Court.
“But I do know that in each and every case, he would look not for the results he prefers, but for those the law demands.
“In a 2017 speech at Notre Dame Law School, Judge Kavanaugh said, and I quote, ‘I believe very deeply in those visions of the rule of law as a law of rules, and of the judge as umpire. By that, I mean a neutral, impartial judiciary that decides cases based on settled principles without regard to policy preferences or political allegiances or which party is on which side in a particular case.’
“That’s it, Mr. President.
“That’s the job of a judge.
“To serve as the umpire.
“To call the balls and strikes – not rewrite the rules of the game.
“Mr. President, when you’re considering a candidate for Congress, political opinions, like those the Democrats are demanding, matter.
“But when it comes to judges, there are really only two important questions.
“One, is this judge well-qualified?
“And two, does this person understand the proper role of a judge?
“And when it comes to Judge Kavanaugh, the answer to both questions is yes.
“His qualifications are outstanding.
“He is a graduate of Yale Law School.
“He clerked for a Supreme Court justice.
“He is a lecturer at Harvard Law School.
“And, most importantly, as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, he has handed down thoughtful, well-reasoned decisions that reveal his deep respect for the law and the Constitution and his understanding that it is a judge’s job to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench.
“It’s unfortunate that Democrats’ belief that the only good judges are liberal judges is preventing them from giving an outstandingly qualified nominee like Judge Kavanaugh a fair hearing.
“But there’s still time for them to abandon their partisan political opposition and take a real look at Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the Supreme Court.”