WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are vowing to fight against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling him a threat to a woman’s right to choose an abortion, measures to address gun violence and protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and all 10 Democrats on the Judiciary panel gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court Tuesday to oppose Kavanaugh.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut calls Kavanaugh ‘‘the worst nightmare’’ of Florida high school students who survived a mass shooting this year. Sen. Kamala Harris of California says young women should pay close attention to the nomination, adding that a possible ruling to overturn abortion rights ‘‘will forever change your lives.’’
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker calls efforts to block Kavanaugh ‘‘the most important fight of our lifetimes.’’
Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence says Kavanaugh would bring ‘‘impeccable credentials and character’’ to the Supreme Court.
Pence made the comment Tuesday during Kavanaugh’s first stop on his confirmation push. The appellate court judge posed for photos in Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, with the Kentucky Republican, Pence and former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl.
Pence, who is also president of the Senate, called Kavanaugh a ‘‘good man’’ and ‘‘quite simply the most qualified and the most deserving nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.’’
McConnell said Kavanaugh was an ‘‘outstanding nomination.’’ He said he looks forward to the confirmation process beginning.
Republicans and Democrats are at odds over Kavanaugh and with the Senate closely divided, his path to confirmation is treacherous.
The appellate court judge’s first, well-photographed stop: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. He is being accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and former Sen. Jon Kyl, his guide for the confirmation process.
Before Kavanaugh even arrived at the Capitol Tuesday, Senate leaders were at loggerheads over his nomination. Democrats on the Judiciary Committee took to the steps of the Supreme Court to protest President Donald Trump’s choice, which is for the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Opening the Senate earlier Tuesday, McConnell called Kavanaugh ‘‘perfectly qualified.’’ Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer gave a preview of his party’s push-back by warning that Kavanaugh is ‘‘way out of the mainstream’’ and would undermine health care protections and women’s reproductive rights.