- Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee took aim at one of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s most surprising comments from his Thursday hearing.
- Kavanaugh said the sexual-misconduct allegations against him might have been the result of people seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.”
- “This ‘lock her up’ grace note in Judge Kavanaugh’s remarks may have raised a cheer in the White House, but it was a sad moment in the history of this committee,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Friday.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee took aim at one of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s most surprising comments from his Thursday hearing.
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee lashed out at Democrats in his opening remarks, saying allegations of sexual misconduct against him were part of a “calculated and orchestrated political hit, fuelled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”
Democrats, who were taken aback by much of Kavanaugh’s testimony, highlighted the Clinton comment as particularly disturbing for someone who not only could soon occupy a Supreme Court seat, but is already is a member of the federal judiciary.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s ranking member, called the remark “unbelievable” on Friday before the panel voted to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination. Sen. Kamala Harris told Refinery29 that the comment made it clear Kavanaugh is “a political operative” and showed “who he really is.” And Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont described it as “conspiratorial madness.”
Perhaps the strongest condemnation came from Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-highest-ranking Senate Democrat.
“This ‘lock her up’ grace note in Judge Kavanaugh’s remarks may have raised a cheer in the White House, but it was a sad moment in the history of this committee,” he said ahead of the committee’s Friday vote.
CNN reported Thursday that Trump viewed the remark positively.
It was not clear whether Kavanaugh meant he believed the allegations were revenge for Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump in the 2016 presidential election, or for his role as an investigator for Ken Starr, the independent counsel who led the investigation into former President Bill Clinton.
Regardless, the comment was a rare instance of an outsize political remark from someone either on the Supreme Court or in the process of being confirmed to it.
In 2016, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg apologised for comments she made about Trump, then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Ginsburg had called Trump a “faker” and said she couldn’t “imagine what the country would be” like with Trump as president. In her apology, she said judges should avoid such political commentary.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.