Oct 05 2018

VIDEO: Blunt Urges Senate to Confirm Kavanaugh, Slams Democrats’ Handling of Nomination Process

WASHINGTON – During a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) urged the Senate to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and slammed Senate Democrats’ handling of the nomination process.

Following are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“I’ve read several times in the last 30 days particularly that Democrats feel they can do anything because of the way Merrick Garland was treated. I don't think there's any comparison between the way Merrick Garland was treated and the way Judge Kavanaugh has been treated. The only comparison I can think of is they are both on the DC Court of Appeals and they both said very kind things about each other, but there's no comparison.

“Merrick Garland was nominated in the last year of a presidency. The last time someone was put on the Supreme Court that was nominated in the last year of a presidency was 1932. 1932 was the last time that happened. The last time someone went on the Supreme Court where the president was of one party and the Senate was of the other and it was a presidential election year was 1888. There is no comparison.

“In fact, Joe Biden, Vice President Biden, then-Senator Biden said on June 25, 1992, in what turned out to be the last year of the Bush presidency, Senator Biden said if there is a vacancy, there will be no hearing until after the election. … Senator Schumer said in July of 2007, not wanting to wait until election year, just wanting to put his position on the table even earlier, Senator Schumer said in July of 2007, the last year of another Bush presidency, he said we should not confirm any Bush nominee -- I think he meant from that moment on -- as a matter of fact he said from that moment on -- we shouldn't confirm any Bush nominee from that moment on except in extraordinary circumstances.

“I'm sure he didn't mean one vacancy on the Supreme Court would be an extraordinary circumstance, but a circumstance that would be dealt with just like Judge Garland’s was dealt with, and people were heard. That’s not what this is about. And that sets no precedent any more than Senator Biden or Senator Schumer set a precedent that should have been a surprise for anybody. So what do we have with Judge Kavanaugh as we decide in the next few hours, the next day or so, whether he becomes Justice Kavanaugh. This is the seventh background check of this judge by the FBI. There has never been a more extensive review of a Supreme Court nominee.

“Seven times in slightly more than a dozen years going through this background check. More than 150 people have been interviewed. He had 36 hours of testimony before the Senate where you and others on the Judiciary Committee could ask him anything you wanted to ask. He had 65 private meetings with senators where they could ask him, including, by the way, the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee who had this information available to talk about, could ask him anything you wanted to ask. More than 500,000 pages of Executive Branch documents have been provided. More than the last four nominees. All of his opinions as a judge, all the cases he was part of, there were about 300 of those, and by the way, that's the best way to look at what kind of judge he’d be. Asked over 1,200 questions for the record. … [T]hree confidential calls with the committee, and then last Friday our colleagues decided, and I think as it turned out maybe wisely so, to do one more final FBI review of whatever they might not have asked about in the other seven FBI interviews that have occurred over the years, and the outside number was one week.

“A week ago, one week was what was apparently going to be plenty of time. I think some members in the minority at that time said, well maybe even three or four days, that's what it took for the Clarence Thomas hearing, and by the way that was before these issues became public because it was turned over to the FBI like it should have been and in three or four days they talked to everybody you could talk to. But last week, three or four days might have been enough, but certainly a week would have been enough according to the other side. Of course that was never going to be the case. A week was never going to be enough.

“And by the way, Mr. President, in background checks when you're asked to be part of that, one, if it’s your background check, one of the questions you're asked, any drinking problems, any drug problems? And he’d been asked that over and over and over and over again, and anybody that’s interviewed, I think, is always asked, do you know of any problems like that.

“Usually a question is, have you ever heard of anything that we would be interested in if we had heard about it? Another question often is, would you tell us three people that we might not talk to that might know something about Judge Kavanaugh that we should know. A decade and a half, seven FBI interviews, 150 people interviewed, the behavioral question, the drinking question, the drug question, which hasn't come up as far as I know, but it's always asked, has been asked over and over again. …

“And then I heard that afternoon Senator Schumer said -- this is full of hints of misconduct. So I went back this morning and looked through the six prior background checks, looked through this background check, and as it turned out, I agree with Senator Grassley who said there was no hint of misconduct. If there had been a hint of misconduct in the previous five, he would have never been nominated. If there’d have been a hint of misconduct in the sixth one, he wouldn't have been nominated.

“That wouldn't have sustained itself. And if you look at the pages that are new, that's not there now. So you can say anything you want to say. You could say it's not time enough. You could say that even though no witness ever saw any of these events, you just haven't talked to enough people yet even though you’ve talked to everybody mentioned as far as I know of any credible charges and so here we are.

“So now it's temperament. Now it's temperament. I don't think there are many senators who would not have had his same indignation at being accused of something that he, without equivocation, swore did not happen, not only in those instances, but any other instance.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when it took 43 days for her to be confirmed, we're about 83 days or something like that now. When I looked up a couple of articles, just to refresh my memory, when she shows some fire, and she had plenty of it, and I admire that, the description of her is her well-known candor. That’s how you describe it when Justice Ginsburg has her own opinion. Like when she said about the Republican nominee last year, “he's a faker, he has no consistency about him.” …. What she said when she said, ‘I can't imagine what this place would be, I can't imagine what the country would be with Donald Trump as our President.’ Now is that a temperament issue or is that too political? And by the way I'm not offended by political. The court never was either.

“John Marshall, one of the great judges of the court, was Secretary of State for the person who appointed him. Earl Warren, who certainly set a standard for the court, had never been in any public office except political elected office before he became the Chief Justice. When he joined the court in 1953, there were three former senators sitting on the court, there were two former attorneys general sitting on the court, both had been appointed by the president they’d been attorney general for. Elena Kagan was the principal lawyer for President Obama.

“But suddenly political becomes a problem. Or temperament becomes a problem. Thurgood Marshall said while he was on the Court, and by the way, I admire in so many ways so much of Thurgood Marshall’s work. What he did as a lawyer. The decision that President Johnson made was clearly historic, but Thurgood Marshall said, as a justice, ‘I wouldn't do the job of dogcatcher for Ronald Reagan.’ Wouldn’t do the job of dogcatcher. About President Bush while he was still a justice, Thurgood Marshall said, ‘it’s said if you can't say something good about a dead person, don't say it. Well, I consider him dead.’

“And then, obviously, if you consider him dead and if you take the first injunction, you don't have anything to say. People on the Court have an opinion. There's nothing wrong with that.

“And in this case, we have a judge where you could look at 12 years of judging, and you could look at 300 opinions, and you could look at his law school classes he taught. There's plenty to look at, Mr. President. And those all, I believe, head to a couple of conclusions. One, the way this nomination has been treated was outrageous.

“I think my good friend who talked before said he’d never seen anything like it. Well, there's never been anything like this. Hold on to information that can't be corroborated, only release it after it's clear that the judge has the votes to be confirmed, and you want to do, as the Minority Leader said, to slow down and stop this nomination.

“We have plenty to look at here. We cannot set a standard of guilty until proven innocent because then anybody can make any charge at any time, and particularly when there's many reasons to believe that there's nothing in seven background checks, there's nothing in 150 interviews, there's nothing in a very visible public career to ever suggest that Judge Kavanaugh is anything different than he said he was and those of us who will vote for him believe him to be, and I would yield the floor.”

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