Kavanaugh Visits Capitol Hill as Durbin Predicts 'Wild West D.C.' If Confirmed

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and mike pence

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats vowed today to try to use deep investigation and grassroots activism to stop President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court as federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh began making the rounds on Capitol Hill to meet GOP lawmakers.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared in a press conference in front of the Supreme Court this morning that "anyone who gets the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval from Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society and from the Heritage Foundation is not moderate, is not mainstream, is hard right and wants to move America back decades."

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), who has been in the upper chamber for the past 17 Supreme Court nominations, protested that "the Constitution doesn't direct the president to nominate justices with the advice and consent of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation; the Constitution gives that role to the Senate."

"But I think the president looks at our independent courts like he does the Justice Department," Leahy added. "He thinks the courts, as well as the Justice Department, should be an arm of the White House."

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) charged that "Washington, D.C., where he grew up, would be Wild West D.C. if Judge Kavanaugh had his way," with views on the Second Amendment "straight out of the gun lobby's playbook."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said Dems are "going to look into what went on and what assurances were made that brought this name to the top of the list."

"There is enormous grounds for suspicion right now about this nominee," he added.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) addressed Parkland student activists, calling Kavanaugh "your worst nightmare" on gun control.

"Give him a seat on this court, and you can say goodbye to the measures in New York and Connecticut and California that have helped save lives," Blumenthal added. "...Now is the time for Americans to rise up, those Parkland students, the survivors and victims of gun violence across the country, women who believe that the government has no place in their doctors' examining rooms or their bedrooms, people who believe that our air and water ought to be clean, that consumers should be protected. We all have a stake in this battle. And if America is heard, if those voices are real, we can win this battle."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) welcomed Kavanaugh for a Capitol Hill meeting with Vice President Mike Pence. “I think the president made an outstanding nomination. We look forward to the confirmation process,” McConnell said.

Pence stressed that the White House is looking "forward to working very closely with you, Leader, to advance the Senate's proper role" in considering Kavanaugh's nomination.

"As the president said last night, Judge Kavanaugh is a man of impeccable credentials and character," Pence said. "And we're very confident that working with you and reaching out to members of the Senate in both political parties, that members of the Senate and the American people they represent will see, as the president said last night, that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is quite simply the most qualified and the most deserving nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States."

McConnell said on the Senate floor this morning "some of our Democratic colleagues seem 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 eager to try and turn judicial confirmations into something like political elections: to grill Judge Kavanaugh on policy outcomes -- like voters rightly grill us when we run for our seats here in the Senate," he said. "...Even more regrettably, a number of our Democratic colleagues could not even wait until the president’s announcement last night before launching attacks on the president’s nominee. This was, in some cases, quite literally a ‘fill in the blank’ opposition."

"...I fully anticipate that we’ll hear all kinds of fantastical 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 fear-mongering insults the intelligence of the American people."

Schumer said on the Senate floor that Kavanaugh's background "as a partisan political operative seems exactly like the kind of man President Trump would want on the Supreme Court if legal issues from the Mueller probe arise: deferential to a fault to executive authority, and with a long track record of partisan politics."

"We need to review the record: Judge Kavanaugh's written history, where the best clues to his jurisprudence may lie," he added. "It is no less than the standard my Republican colleagues demanded of Justice Kagan during her confirmation process. They asked for her entire records, 170,000 documents were sent here. We need those documents, now more than ever because this new justice will be so pivotal in determining the future of our nation for so long."