Democratic senators from Connecticut and Michigan on Friday announced opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, saying Brett Kavanaugh’s judicial record clearly shows that he would limit access to health care and curtail environmental protections.
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is up for re-election to a fourth term, issued a statement expressing “deep concern” that Kavanaugh — a federal appellate judge — “believes the president is above the law.” It was a reference to his 2011 dissent in a case challenging the U.S. health care law in which Kavanaugh suggested that a president could decline to enforce a statute regulating private individuals if the president deems it unconstitutional, even if a court determines it to be constitutional.
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters joined his Democratic colleague Friday in saying he would not support Kavanaugh.
“Our founders created our democracy with three branches of government, not one. They created checks and balances so that it would be clear that no one is above the law,” Stabenow said, adding that “it is in the best interests of the people of Michigan for me to oppose the nomination” of Kavanagh.
The two Republicans running to face Stabenow in November, John James and Sandy Pensler, have backed Trump’s pick. The Republican National Committee criticized Stabenow’s decision and said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who opposes Kavanaugh, took priority over her constituents.
“Obstruction isn’t a platform to run on in Michigan, and it’s time to replace Stabenow come November,” spokesman Michael Joyce said Friday.
They expressed concerns that Kavanaugh would favor wealthy special interests over people, curtail environmental regulations, roll back women’s access to health care and make it harder to obtain affordable health insurance, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Peters also said Kavanagh favored striking down net neutrality rules and the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was established in 2010 to protect Americans against abusive financial products and services.
“I’m deeply troubled by his efforts to undermine workers’ rights and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will only further stack the deck against hardworking middle-class families who are struggling to make ends meet,” Peters said in a statement.
Meanwhile in Connecticut, the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators say they’re hopeful there’s a chance to block Kavanaugh’s ascent to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal told a crowd of about 100 people who gathered for a rally in Hartford that the minority Democrats can use the power of public opinion to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Blumenthal said public outcry helped scuttle Republican proposals to scrap the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Chris Murphy, who’s seeking a second term, says the fight is to make sure the court “reflects the values of our nation, reflects the values of our state,” including abortion rights and gay marriage.
Connecticut’s Republican Senate candidates, Matt Corey and Dominic Rapini, back Kavanaugh. Corey says Kavanaugh is a “great pick” who will “interpret the Constitution as intended.”
Republicans, who have a 51-49 edge in the Senate, want to have Kavanaugh confirmed by the start of the court’s session in October and before the midterm election.