Democratic lawmakers rallied with nearly a dozen liberal advocacy groups on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, warning he would turn President Trump into a monarch and destroy American democracy.
The lawmakers complained that Judge Kavanaugh has shown a skepticism toward criminal prosecution of a sitting president — and said that’s a dangerous attitude to have on the Supreme Court with Mr. Trump in office and under investigation.
“I see a Constitution with checks and balances, but Kanavaugh doesn’t, so let’s send him to serve in some country that has a kingdom and a king,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat.
The Democrats point in particular to a law review article Judge Kavanaugh wrote in 2009 arguing that a sitting president should not be subject to prosecution until he leaves office, saying it’s not in the public interest and interferes with national security.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, said she also sees troubling signs in some of Judge Kavanaugh’s more than 300 rulings as a circuit court judge.
“We have a judge who may very well say, ‘Mr. President you can pretty much do what you want,'” Ms. Hirono said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, suggested Mr. Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh specifically to insulate him from possible charges from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“He is worried about Mueller. He is worried about the rule of law and he knows that Kavanaugh … will roll over the rule of law and get the president off the legal hook,” Mr. Schumer said.
Democrats are searching for ammunition to derail Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, fearing he would tilt the court in a more conservative direction than it’s taken in recent years.
But Judge Kavanaugh’s defenders say Democrats are fabricating reasons to oppose him.
Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said Judge Kavanaugh’s 2009 law review article acknowledges a judge wouldn’t be the one to change the law regarding presidential probes, respecting a separation of powers.
“In that article he is explicitly saying this is something Congress would have to do, not the courts,” said Ms. Severino.
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