[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 115 (Tuesday, July 10, 2018)]
[Pages S4847-S4848]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, President Trump has made a superb 
selection to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the 
United States: Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the DC Circuit. Judge Kavanaugh 
possesses an impressive resume, an outstanding legal mind, and an 
exemplary judicial temperament. He has served 12 years on the Nation's 
most consequential circuit court. During that tenure, he has proven to 
be one of the most thorough and thoughtful jurists in our country. 
Importantly, that record demonstrates an understanding of a judge's 
proper role in our constitutional Republic.
  Judge Kavanaugh understands that in the United States of America 
judges are not--not--unelected superlegislators whom we select for 
their personal views or policy preferences. A judge's duty is to 
interpret the plain meaning of our laws and our Constitution according 
to how they are written.
  Judges need to be unbiased. They need to treat all parties fairly. 
They need to approach every case with open ears and an open mind. 
Judges' decisions must turn on the facts of each case and be based on 
the texts that it is their job to interpret.
  By all accounts, Judge Kavanaugh is precisely that kind of judge. His 
resume, to put it simply, is topnotch: a bachelor's degree from Yale, 
with honors; a law degree, also from Yale, where he was a member of the 
law review; a lecturing position at Harvard Law School, to which he was 
appointed, by the way, by then-Dean and now-Justice Elena Kagan.
  After graduating, he quickly built a reputation as a star law clerk, 
including on the Supreme Court, for Justice Kennedy; as an energetic 
and talented public servant; and as one of the preeminent legal minds 
of his generation.
  In 2006, the Senate confirmed him to the DC Circuit. He has compiled 
an extensive record on the Federal bench. He has published more than 
300 opinions and has earned considerable praise for his clear writing 
and reasoning.
  Judge Kavanaugh has built a long and distinguished record. It paints 
a clear picture of how he would conduct himself as a member of the 
Nation's highest Court. It reflects a firm understanding that judges 
must interpret laws as they are written. We do not choose them to make 
policy, to pick favorites, or to craft novel legislation from the 
  Some of our colleagues--and others on the left--seem to see the role 
of judges very differently. President Obama summed up this alternate 
view well when he was running for President. He explained that he 
sought to appoint judges who harbored particular empathy for certain 
parties in certain cases. That is great if you happen to be the party 
in the case whom the judge likes. It is not so great if you are the 
other guy. It doesn't align with our Nation's historical understanding 
of the rule of law or the role that Federal courts play in our 
  I respectfully submit that, then and now, some of our Democratic 
colleagues seem to be a little confused. They seem to be confusing the 
nature of a political office with the nature of a judicial office. This 
would explain why some of our colleagues sound

[[Page S4848]]

eager to try and turn judicial confirmations into something like 
political elections--to grill Judge Kavanaugh on policy outcomes, like 
voters rightly grill all of us when we run for our seats in the Senate.
  Some Democratic Senators have telegraphed that they will heed the 
demands of the far-left special interest groups and try to force Judge 
Kavanaugh to commit under oath to decisions he might make on particular 
issues in hypothetical cases. Forget that the cases don't even exist 
yet. Forget the total absence of any facts, legal arguments, or 
research. Forget how inappropriate and undesirable it would be for a 
judge to predetermine a ruling before either side's lawyers uttered a 
single word.
  That is simply not how this process has ever worked or ever could 
work. I am not the one saying this. Here is what a prior Supreme Court 
nominee said on this very subject: ``A judge sworn to decide 
impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not 
only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would 
display disdain for the entire judicial process.''
  Those are the words of another then-DC Circuit Court judge and 
current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her Senate 
confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1993.
  I think we all should remember that standard. We will do well to 
remember that we are evaluating a judge, not debating a candidate for 
political office.
  Even more regrettably, a number of our Democratic colleagues could 
not even wait until the President's announcement last night before 
launching attacks on his nominee. This was, in some cases, quite 
literally a fill-in-the-blank opposition. They wrote statements of 
opposition only to fill in the name later.
  Sadly, this is not a new approach for the far-left special interest 
groups. Just last year, Justice Gorsuch met with partisan opposition 
before the ink was even dry on his nomination. I am sorry to say that 
Judge Kavanaugh seems to have already broken that record, because 
Senate Democrats were on record opposing him before he had even been 
named--just fill in the name, whomever it is we are against--before the 
ink was even dry on Justice Kennedy's resignation.
  This is a telltale sign that some of our colleagues are throwing 
thoughtful independent judgment out the window and are outsourcing 
their thinking on this matter to far-left special interest groups.
  There has been a lot of talk about outsourcing here. If anybody is 
outsourcing, it is the Democrats outsourcing what they say to these 
outside groups that are demanding opposition to anyone at all costs, no 
matter who it is.
  As I discussed on the floor yesterday, we know exactly what this 
partisan playbook looks like. It has been hauled out for most everyone 
who a Republican President has nominated to the Supreme Court for the 
last 40 years. It is like clockwork.
  I fully anticipate that we will hear all kinds of fantastic stories 
about the pain and suffering that this perfectly qualified, widely 
respected judge will somehow unleash on America if we confirm him to 
the Court. That kind of cheap, political fearmongering insults the 
intelligence of the American people because Americans understand the 
difference between a political office and a judicial office. They 
understand the difference between the policymakers who throw pitches 
and the judges who call balls and strikes.
  I look forward to the Senate's fair consideration of this most 
impressive nomination. I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh 
later this morning, to hearing his testimony in committee, and to 
voting on his confirmation right here on the Senate floor.