(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) voted against confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier, Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor, and underscored that Kavanaugh’s judicial record, which is dangerously out of step with the American people, led her to conclude that she could not support his confirmation. Specifically, Shaheen cited Kavanaugh’s expansive views of executive power, his failure to answer questions over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and his willingness to infringe on a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to make her own reproductive health decisions.
Shaheen said, “As the highest court in the land, the justices on the Supreme Court are tasked with the enormous responsibility of interpreting and protecting the fundamental, Constitutional rights that are guaranteed to all Americans. Its decisions are not abstract legal principles that are reserved for a few; its decisions affect the rights of all of us. They touch on issues that affect all of our daily lives, from the health care we receive, to the person we can marry, to the air that we breathe. These are the significant stakes we face when considering any nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.”
Shaheen also discussed the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and others, and the critical need for our country to confront the sexual violence in our culture, stating, “Her [Dr. Ford’s] testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee was sincere and credible, and I believe her.” She continued, “Dr. Ford’s bravery has given so many women in this country the courage to tell their stories. She gave others courage and we have seen an outpouring from survivors who now feel like they too can come forward… These wounds are real. The wounds are raw. And it is incumbent on all of us in this body, regardless of where you stand on Brett Kavanaugh; it’s incumbent on all of us to not deepen those scars by diminishing the pain of these women as political theatre. This is not political theater, and it should not be viewed through a partisan lens.”
Shaheen closed her remarks with a call for a return to civility, both in Congress and across the country, stating, “The disunity that we model here is hurting the country. The scorched earth politics that have been practiced here are deepening our divides.” She concluded, “As so many people have said, this process has undermined the faith of the American people, and the ability of the Supreme Court to be an objective arbiter of cases that come before them. This process has inflamed existing divides within our country, and within Congress, and we can’t let this become the status quo. As an institution, as a legislative body, we must be better than this. Now, I’ve always been told that when we’re standing at the edge of an abyss, the best step is always backwards. So, I hope all of us can take a step back. I hope we can take a step back when we’re past this nomination – that we can return to more civil discourse. I hope that we can better try to understand each other’s point of view, and that we can see each other’s humanity. And I hope we can be better stewards of our democracy because this country demands it.”
Senator Shaheen’s remarks can be viewed in full here.