Mr. President, I rise today in support of the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be our next Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Confirming Supreme Court Justices is one of the most important and sacred roles of the Senate. Supreme Court candidates represent individuals who have reached the highest level of their profession and are often the brightest legal minds of their generation. Beyond their stellar resumes, they must have a proven track record of approaching each case with care and a commitment to upholding our rule of law and the Constitution. Judge Kavanaugh easily exceeds these standards and is highly qualified for confirmation to our nation’s highest court.
I met with Judge Kavanaugh in July and got the chance to talk with him about his judicial philosophy and record. During our conversation, I was struck by his professionalism, commitment to the Constitution, and vast knowledge of our legal system. We discussed the important issues facing Wyoming, and I believe he understands my state’s unique challenges. As a rural, western state, we are constantly battling federal government overreach from Washington, D.C. Judge Kavanaugh has a long history of reining in executive agencies that stretch beyond their statutory authorities, which is a welcome relief for my state. Wyoming is a state full of citizens who expect our courts to uphold the Constitution as the framers originally intended it.
I voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh as a Judge to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals over a decade ago. Since that time, Judge Kavanaugh has become widely regarded by his peers as one of the most respected circuit judges in the nation. He’s a prolific writer and has authored more than 300 opinions, demonstrating his firm commitment to the rule of law. Having reviewed his record, and based on his experience and writings, I believe Judge Kavanaugh will fairly and impartially interpret the law.
Over a decade ago, when the Senate was considering the nominations of Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts, I gave a floor speech where I stated that “[W]e have shifted into an era of judges who legislate. We must return to the elementary doctrines that [recognize] the important and distinct roles of each branch.” That sentiment is more true now than ever. Elected representatives in Congress are held accountable to the people and must demonstrate their fidelity to their constituents’ concerns to remain in office. There is no such check on our judiciary. Congress’s job is to write the law, and the courts are tasked with interpreting the law and determining its adherence to the Constitution, not writing it themselves. I believe Judge Kavanaugh understands this distinction thoroughly and has a proven track record of refraining from re-writing laws from the bench. His confirmation to the Supreme Court will set a new standard for our judicial system that encourages this type of philosophy – one that shies away from activism and focuses on the true role of the courts to interpret the law.
I also appreciate Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to service. Since the beginning of his career, he’s spent several decades in various roles in the public sector, serving our nation. From the Bush Administration and now to the courts, he’s dedicated his life to public service and served our nation honorably. He’s also a family man who volunteers his extra time at his church or helping deliver meals to other people. Of all of the shining spots on Judge Kavanaugh’s resume, this may be the most impressive.
Serious accusations were recently made against Judge Kavanaugh. It is a senator’s job when giving advice and consent on nominations to give such accusations, and the people making them, careful consideration. I do not condone sexual assault in any case, and allegations must be taken seriously. All parties deserve fair treatment. I believe they got it and the committee rendered its decision.
The situation surrounding these accusations included noise and political pandemonium the likes of which we’ve thankfully not had too many occasions to witness in the history of our country. That’s why I was appreciative of how Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley conducted committee consideration of this nomination. He cut through the conjecture, speculation, frenzy, and focused the committee on fair consideration for accusers and accused.
I made my decision to vote for Judge Kavanaugh based on my meeting with him, his long and meritorious record of public service and as a judge, which involved multiple FBI background checks, including the most recent supplemental review, and the Judiciary Committee’s work on the nomination. That work included a day of questions about the accusations made against Judge Kavanaugh. At the conclusion of this process, no new facts were revealed and no corroboration of the accusations was presented.
Like Justice Gorsuch before him, I believe Judge Kavanaugh would issue decisions adhering to a strict interpretation of the Constitution, free from outside pressure. I applaud President Trump for taking his responsibility to nominate qualified Justices so seriously.
Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the floor.