Vice President Mike Pence assailed Senate Democrats’ relentless obstruction of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and other judicial nominees as he spoke to the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) on Friday.
Pence listed Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the Supreme Court to which President Trump nominated him. He then ridiculed some of the Democrats’ trivial criticisms of the nominee.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh actually went to the same prep school, not far from here, that produced Justice Neil Gorsuch,” said Pence. He used the school’s motto to describe Kavanaugh’s life, work, character, and his objective is to be “a man for others.”
He listed Kavanaugh’s graduation from Yale Law School, fellowship in the United States Solicitor General’s office, service as a clerk in the Third Circuit and for the Supreme Court justice he would replace, Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh also served as associate counsel at the White House and on the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia.
“During his time on the bench, Judge Kavanaugh has been called a judge’s judge,” said Pence. “A stunning 39 of his 48 clerks have gone on to clerk at the Supreme Court.”
“His peers in the judiciary rightly see him as a thought leader. His opinions are cited by courts across the country on a regular basis,” Pence continued. “The Supreme Court has endorsed Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions more than a dozen times. I think that’s worth a round of applause,” said Pence, prompting the crowd to laugh and begin applauding.
The vice president heralded the judge’s 307 opinions and history of standing for religious liberty and Second Amendment rights. “He’s always enforced the Constitution’s clear and unambiguous limits on government power, upholding the separation of powers, checks and balances, a principle of federalism that’s essential to our freedom,” said Pence. “Judge Brett Kavanaugh supports the principles of limited government enshrined by our founders in the Constitution of the United States of America.”
“He’s a textualist, an originalist, and yet he enjoys a broad degree of support,” said Pence. He cited a Yale Law professor, Amy Chua, who has called the judge “a mentor for young lawyers, particularly women.”
Pence cited a Politico article by liberal feminist lawyer Lisa Blatt, who wrote, “Democrats should support Judge Kavanaugh, quit attacking him full stop.”
The vice president recalled spending time with Kavanaugh while President Donald Trump was deciding whom he would name as his nominee to the Supreme Court. “Beyond the extraordinary career and the extraordinary intellect and the extraordinary record of this judge, you find a character and a humility combined with strength that left [me] just profoundly impressed.”
Pence spoke of Kavanaugh’s devotion to family and community, coaching his daughter’s basketball team, reading at church, tutoring elementary school kids, and serving meals to homeless in D.C.
“It’s extraordinary to look at the attacks that have been leveled,” said Pence. “Truth is, if we lived in a more respectful time, Judge Kavanaugh would be overwhelmingly confirmed by the United States Senate.” Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed 98-0 and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed 96-3.
“Sadly, Senate Democrats have no intention of giving this good man and this brilliant jurist the consideration or the support that he deserves,” said Pence. “Advise and consent has turned into obstruct and oppose.”
“The truth is it’s not just limited to our nominee to the Supreme Court. To date, Democrats have tried to defeat or delay almost every single judicial nominee that President Trump has sent up for confirmation,” said the vice president.
Pence pointed to the “over 130 extraordinary women and men” President Trump has nominated to federal courts, just 53 of whom have been confirmed thus far. There have also been 26 circuit court nominee confirmations.
Pence lauded Trump and his swift work with the Republican Senate despite “unprecedented opposition by Senate Democrats.” He noted RNLA members who have been appointed to some of the posts, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The vice president said there has been “significant, if not universal, opposition from Democrats,” as just a few voted with Republicans “from time to time, but it’s a very small number.” Confirmed unanimously by the Senate in 2006 for a previous judicial post, Neil Gorsuch was opposed by all but three Senate Democrats in his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
He pointed to the five Senate Democrats who voiced opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy before he named Kavanaugh as his choice. Pence again pointed to the obstruction, including requesting vast volumes of documents. He declared, “The American people deserve better.”