October 06, 2018

Senator Hassan on Senate Floor: The American People Deserve Better than Judge Kavanaugh

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To watch the Senator’s remarks, click here.

WASHINGTON – In the lead-up to the final vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, Senator Maggie Hassan last night delivered a speech on the Senate floor regarding her opposition to Judge Kavanaugh. 

“Supreme Court Justice is not a position that any one person is entitled to,” Senator Hassan said. “Any individual nominated to the court must be subject to scrutiny on the totality of their record, their temperament, and their past actions. Yet – throughout the process of this nomination, my colleagues in the majority have made clear that they will stop at nothing to get Judge Kavanaugh on the court. No matter his record. No matter his temperament. No matter his character.”

Senator Hassan cited her concerns with Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy and partisan agenda, particularly when it comes to undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions, restricting a woman’s constitutionally protected rights, and promoting unchecked presidential power. 

Senator Hassan concluded by saying, “The majority has put the interests of its party and nominee, who has made clear he will serve those interests, before the interests of the court and the country. The nominee who will apparently, given today's developments, be confirmed tomorrow, is without the character or temperament needed to serve on the Supreme Court. Without the credibility that the American people deserve. He is – in fact – the antithesis of that impartial arbiter that a Supreme Court Justice has to be. The people of New Hampshire deserve better. The people of the United States of America deserve better. And that is why, Mr. President, I will be voting no on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination tomorrow, and I would urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same.”

Earlier on Friday, Senator Hassan spoke on Senate floor specifically regarding the impact Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would have on restricting access to health care. 

See below for Senator Hassan’s full remarks or watch her speech here:

I rise to join Senator Duckworth and Senator King, and so many of my colleagues in opposing Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

 

Mr. President, one of the most solemn responsibilities of a United States Senator is providing advice and consent upon the President nominating an individual to the Supreme Court.

 

This is a duty – and a decision – that I do not take lightly.

 

This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our land – which will impact the lives of every single person in this country.

 

Supreme Court Justice is not a position that any one person is entitled to any individual nominated to the court must be subject to scrutiny on the totality of their record, their temperament, and their past actions. 

 

Yet – throughout the process of this nomination, my colleagues in the majority have made clear that they will stop at nothing to get Judge Kavanaugh on the court.

 

No matter his record. No matter his temperament. No matter his character.

 

Mr. President, when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s serious and credible allegations came to light – we saw a truly disturbing scene from both Judge Kavanaugh and my colleagues on the other side of this aisle.

 

Judge Kavanaugh himself lashed out – claiming a political conspiracy against him, refusing to answer questions and seemingly threatening those who raised serious, good faith questions about his fitness. He said those words “what goes around, comes around.” His behavior and those words reflect a partisan who sees those with who he differs as enemies, not opponents.

 

And while many of my colleagues in the majority praised Dr. Ford’s bravery in sharing her story and even agreed that her testimony was credible, they blocked any serious, professional attempt to get the facts.

 

And Mr. President I want to take a minute here to address one of the most disingenuous claims I have heard from the majority when it talks about Dr. Blasey Ford. 

 

Over the last week, members on the other side of the aisle have expressed concern and regret that Dr. Blasey Ford letter outlining her allegations was leaked, forcing her story into public view.

 

But the fact that Dr. Blasey Ford didn't choose if and when to reveal her allegation to the public, does not relieve the United State Senate of its duty to pursue the truth. 

 

Or treat Dr. Blasey Ford with the respect and the compassion that the majority says it feels for her. Something you could simply demonstrate by ceding to her request for what normally happens after a report of sexual assault, a full investigation before the hearing. 

And I too will note, that I watched and listened to Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony. I considered the additional evidence that would have particular weight in a court of law of her corroborating statements well prior to any suggestion that Brett Kavanaugh would ever be nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States. And I compare her testimony to that of Judge Kavanaugh. And I believe Dr. Blasey Ford. 

But even though the Committee reject the Doctor's request for an investigation prior to the hearing, which would have been normal course, which would have produced a much more meaningful and insightful and fact-based hearing.

 

I was hopeful, Mr. President, when it was announced last week that the nomination process would be paused for the FBI to investigate Dr. Blasey Ford's allegations. I was so hopeful that there would be a thorough, intensive process in order to get to the truth.

 

But after reading the report that was presented to Senators – it was clear that the FBI was not allowed to conduct a serious investigation. 

 

I'm an attorney – and I have to say that any good attorney allowed to read the FBI supplemental background investigation, or what we've been calling the report, would tell you that it was not the type of comprehensive investigation that could lead to the truth.

 

The limited scope of the investigation produced a sham. And let me clear, nothing in the FBI report exonerated Judge Kavanaugh. It wasn't comprehensive enough to prove or disprove Dr. Blasey Ford's allegations or Judge Kavnaugh's denials. It was clearly designed just to provide cover so that the majority could vote “yes” and jam this nomination through.

 

But even before Dr. Ford bravely stepped forward with her allegations of sexual assault, I had concluded that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination should not go forward, that Judge Kavanaugh did not belong on the Supreme Court of the United States. 

 

Having reviewed his record, and hearing his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee – it is evident that he does not have the impartiality that is required to serve on the Supreme Court.

 

His record shows that he is a partisan who promotes a partisan right-wing ideology deeply at odds with the will of the American people.

 

On issue after issue, Judge Kavanaugh has promoted a judicial philosophy that diminishes the rights of individuals, particularly women, and puts corporations before people.

 

On health care, Judge Kavanaugh’s agenda has been clear.

 

As recently as October 2017, Judge Kavanaugh criticized Chief Justice Roberts’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. And in his confirmation hearing, Judge Kavanaugh would not commit to upholding protections for people who have pre-existing conditions such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, and more.

 

The Trump Administration and the majority in Congress have been relentless in their attempts to sabotage our health care system – underscoring the need to have a Supreme Court that would rise above partisanship.  But Judge Kavanaugh will not do that.

 

On the issue of reproductive rights and a woman’s right to chart her own destiny, Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly tried to dodge and mislead.

 

But none of his judicial opinions or comments indicate that he believes Roe versus Wade was rightly decided or that he would respect Roe’s precedent if he had the opportunity to do so.

With Judge Kavanaugh on the bench, Roe – and the personal, economic, and reproductive freedom that it has delivered to women –is directly threatened.

 

And when it comes to checks and balances on the President’s power, Judge Kavanaugh’s record and opinions are also extremely concerning, particularly given that a clear pattern of criminality continues to emerge from the Mueller investigation.

 

Judge Kavanaugh has a history of supporting an unchecked presidency. He has written that Presidents should be essentially above the law by claiming that they should not be the subject of civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, or even criminal investigations.

 

And during his hearing, Judge Kavanaugh refused to commit to recusing himself from matters involving investigations of the very President who nominated him.

 

Especially at a time like this, it is too dangerous to place a justice on the Supreme Court who believes in virtually no checks on a President’s power.  But it appears that the majority is committed to doing just that.

 

Mr. President, this nomination has been an outrage. And the way it has been handled is a failure of this institution.

 

The majority has put the interests of its party and nominee who has made clear he will serve those interests, before the interests of the court and the country. 

The nominee who will apparently, given today's developments, be confirmed tomorrow, is without the character or temperament needed to serve on the Supreme Court.

 

Without the credibility that the American people deserve.

 

He is – in fact – the antithesis of that impartial arbiter that a Supreme Court Justice has to be.

 

The people of New Hampshire deserve better.

 

The people of the United States of America deserve better.

 

And that is why, Mr. President, I will be voting no on Brett Kavanaugh nomination tomorrow, and I would urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same. 

 

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