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In wide-ranging Senate floor speech, Senator Murray lays out extreme danger Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy poses to long-standing legal precedent and critical protections for millions of people

Senator Murray also highlights President Trump’s intent to tip the ideological balance of the nation’s highest court for years to come & reverse progress made expanding critical rights & protections regarding health care, women’s reproductive care, LGBTQ equality, environmental protections, voting & workers’ rights, gun safety, abuses in our democracy, & more

“…[I]t’s telling that President Trump and his Republican and special interest allies are desperately trying to make the case that Judge Kavanaugh isn’t well outside the mainstream, far outside the bounds of reasonable, and deeply opposed to what people across the country want when it comes to their rights and freedoms being protected”

“Judge Kavanaugh is an extreme pick who would be devastating for our country if confirmed—and we need to do everything we can to stop it”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S REMARKS BELOW OR HERE***

 

“Judge Kavanaugh is a rubber stamp. He will stand with special interests over families, and he will take our country in the wrong direction.”

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Assistant Democratic Leader and the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, laid out her growing list of concerns with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and discussed the many threats his appointment to the nation’s highest court would pose to the rights and freedoms of millions of people across the country. Senator Murray added to efforts by her Democratic colleagues to highlight President Trump’s aggressive efforts to tip the balance of the federal judiciary by appointing hardline, conservative judges, and in a Senate floor speech highlighted how Judge Kavanuagh’s record is completely aligned with President Trump’s partisan agenda and his promises to extreme, ideological, right-wing special interests. Once again, Senator Murray urged Republicans to join Democrats and people across the country in opposing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and rejecting President Trump’s extreme vision for the Supreme Court.

Noting Judge Kavanuagh’s record on several issues, Senator Murray offered a comprehensive rebuke of Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy on several topics of importance to our democracy and to families in Washington state and nationwide, including on critical issues such as defending health care protections for patients with pre-existing conditions:

“President Trump said that he would make taking away patient protections like those for pre-existing conditions—and gutting policies that have made health care more affordable for millions—a top priority. He failed to jam a bill through Congress to make those things happen—so he’s done everything he can to attack patients’ health care from the Oval Office, and his biggest attack yet is Judge Kavanaugh—an extremely conservative nominee—vetted by those same right-wing special interests who President Trump is so determined to keep happy. A judge who those special interests picked because they know he will help them undermine affordable health care from the Supreme Court bench.”

Protecting Roe v. Wade and women’s access to reproductive care:

“President Trump said he would appoint Supreme Court justices vetted by these groups for their willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade. He said women should be punished for having abortions. In office, he and Vice President Mike Pence have done virtually everything they can to restrict women’s access to health care and chip away at women’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights…[t]here is no sugar-coating this: we are on the precipice of five men voting to overturn a historic ruling that has made women healthier, more equal, and more free in the United States.”

Guarding the progress made advancing rights for LGBTQ individuals and families:

“…[t]here are many questions and cases in this area that will come before the Supreme Court in the coming years, whether it’s questions regarding equality under our adoption laws for all couples, the rights of a couple to buy a wedding cake, whether transgender troops can serve their country, whether someone can continue being fired simply for being LGBTQ, and so much more.  There is a whole lot at stake, and anyone who cares about this issue—or anyone who simply believes that everyone in this country should have fundamental rights and freedoms—no matter who they are or who they love—should join me in rejecting Judge Kavanaugh.”

Defending our nation’s bedrock environmental laws:

“If you really want to shape our nation’s environmental laws for generations to come, you put someone on the Supreme Court—for life—who consistently sides with the massive corporations and special interests that put profits ahead of the health and wellbeing of families…the bottom line is that because of our landmark environmental laws like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, our rivers are cleaner, our air is easier to breathe, and families are better protected than ever before.  And though we still have a lot of work to do, it would be a grave mistake to go backward. And that’s just what so many people fear would happen with Judge Kavanaugh on the bench, given his past rulings—and given the test that President Trump applied and his commitment to only nominate someone screened and approved by the extreme right, especially his stance that could take decisions away from our nation’s scientists and non-partisan professionals, and put those decisions into the hands of special interests.”

Securing our elections and protecting the right to vote:

“Judge Kavanaugh would continue his habit of ruling to make it harder and harder for citizens to vote and have a voice in our democracy. We know this – we saw how he ruled in favor of stricter voter ID laws—ones where the intention to make it harder for Americans to vote is clear. And it is absolutely the wrong way to go. We cannot have a Supreme Court that continues to allow voter suppression…and if you believe that Citizens United was an awful decision that perverted the First Amendment and put shameful amounts of power into the hands of the mega-rich and the biggest corporations, join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding someone who will put ordinary voters first.”

Protecting the rights of workers against wealthy corporate interests:

“Last month’s Janus decision made it clear that workers—and their unions—need a fair voice on the Supreme Court. But unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh has a long record of weakening worker protections, undermining union rights, and making it easier for corporations and special interests to tilt the scales of justice in their favor.”

Advancing common-sense gun safety laws and protections:

“Churches, schools, concerts—it seems like no place is immune to the rampant gun violence happening across this country, which is why millions of Americans have taken to the streets in recent months to demand action.  And yet at the same time, Judge Kavanaugh has taken a far more expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment, and has vigorously argued that assault weapons bans are unconstitutional. His position is far more extreme than even the late Justice Scalia. It’s no wonder the NRA immediately applauded Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination— and has pledged to spend untold amounts to seal the deal on his confirmation.”

And abusing power in our democracy:

“And as we all watch, many of us in horror and dismay, as President Trump continues to do everything in his power to try and discredit the Mueller investigation—we cannot forget for a moment that his Supreme Court nominee suggested in a 2009 law review article that a sitting president shouldn’t be subjected to criminal investigation or civil or criminal litigation. Does anyone think for one second that this isn’t something President Trump was looking for?

“President Trump controls the White House, his Republicans control both houses of Congress, and the last thing we need—the last thing any American who truly cares about our country should want—is to place the last remaining branch, the final branch intended to be independent, to put our constitution first—into the hands of a Trump lackey. That would be awful—it would eliminate even the pretense of checks and balances—and if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, with his record and given what we know about President Trump—that is exactly what would happen.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s remarks below or HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks below:

“Thank you, M. President.

“I come to the floor today to join my colleagues in making it clear just how high the stakes are when it comes to our nation’s highest courts—for our families, for our communities, for our country—and for our future.

“M. President—since the day he took office, President Trump has made one move after another to turn the White House—and the entire executive branch—into a tool for those who have the most power, the most money, and the most influence to get even more power, more money, and more influence.

“From our public schools, to our public lands, and so much more, it’s hard to find any Trump administration decision where the bottom line didn’t come first.

“But it’s not just his Administration.

“President Trump has systematically worked to roll back decades of progress through our courtrooms—from the Supreme Court on down—which will have long-lasting impacts, stretching far beyond his time in the White House.

“M. President—I know some of my colleagues are here to talk about the absolutely egregious Circuit court nominees who would do everything they can to whittle away at our rights and freedoms as Americans—and I’m going to talk about that for a bit as well…

“…but first I want to take some time to talk about a nominee who would sit above the Circuit Court—in our nation’s Supreme Court…

“…and who—if confirmed—would overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminate protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, reverse settled law and precedent, and give these extreme Circuit Court nominees even more room to do damage to our constitution, our laws, our freedoms, and our way of life.

“M. President, it’s telling that President Trump and his Republican and special interest allies are desperately trying to make the case that Judge Kavanaugh isn’t well outside the mainstream, far outside the bounds of reasonable, and deeply opposed to what people across the country want when it comes to their rights and freedoms being protected.

“They may try—but they won’t succeed.

“Because the record is clear. The facts are clear.

“Judge Kavanaugh is an extreme pick who would be devastating for our country if confirmed—and we need to do everything we can to stop it.

“So I’m standing here right now—on behalf of families in my home state of Washington and across this country…

“…to be very clear about what’s at stake if President Trump and his enablers continue to try to turn our judicial system into one that works for massive corporations and special interests, and against regular families.

“M. President, a number of my colleagues stood in this very spot to sound the alarm on what’s at stake for our environment and our public health if the balance of the court swings toward President Trump and his extreme special interests.

“I want to expand on those concerns—and I want to talk about just a few—of  many—issues that Judge Kavanaugh would impact should he be confirmed—and how awful this would be for families, for communities, for students, for workers, for the environment, our elections, our country—and more.

“But before I get into some other issues—and again, just a few of many—I want to start with two that I believe are most important, and that every woman, every man, and every family should be thinking very hard about: protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, and Roe v. Wade.

“First—President Trump has broken promise after promise that he made to workers and families on the campaign trail.

“But he has never once wavered in keeping promises he made to extreme, ideological, right-wing special interests.

“President Trump said that he would make taking away patient protections like those for pre-existing conditions—and gutting policies that have made health care more affordable for millions—a top priority.

“He failed to jam a bill through Congress to make those things happen—so he’s done everything he can to attack patients’ health care from the Oval Office…

“And his biggest attack yet is Judge Kavanaugh—an extremely conservative nominee—vetted by those same right-wing special interests who President Trump is so determined to keep happy.

“A judge who those special interests picked because they know he will help them undermine affordable health care from the Supreme Court bench.

“I believed President Trump when he said he was determined to undermine patients’ health care in order to satisfy right-wing special interests.

“Health care coverage—especially for people with pre-existing conditions—is on the line with this nomination.

“And we can’t afford not to take this threat seriously.

“M. President—that’s not the only health care issue under threat.

“President Trump said he would appoint Supreme Court justices vetted by these groups for their willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“He said women should be punished for having abortions.

“In office, he and Vice President Mike Pence have done virtually everything they can to restrict women’s access to health care and chip away at women’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights.

“And unless women and men across the country stand up stop him, they will succeed in putting another Supreme Court justice who has the ideological right wing’s stamp of approval when it comes to striking down Roe.

“There is no sugar-coating this: we are on the precipice of five men voting to overturn a historic ruling that has made women healthier, more equal, and more free in the United States.

“We can’t let that happen.

“M. President—those are two issues so many of us are focused on—and they are so important.

“But they are far from the only ones.

“Another key issue I want to briefly mention today is the rights and freedoms of our LGBTQ friends, co-workers, neighbors, and fellow Americans.

“We have made progress, but there are many questions and cases in this area that will come before the Supreme Court in the coming years…

“…whether it’s questions regarding equality under our adoption laws for all couples, the rights of a couple to buy a wedding cake, whether transgender troops can serve their country, whether someone can continue being fired simply for being LGBTQ, and so much more.

“There is a whole lot at stake.

“And anyone who cares about this issue—or anyone who simply believes that everyone in this country should have fundamental rights and freedoms—no matter who they are or who they love—should join me in rejecting Judge Kavanaugh.

“And M. President—that’s not all.

“We’ve known from Day One that President Trump would be hostile toward our bedrock environmental laws, and that he was eager to do the bidding of the coal, oil, and gas industries.

“That his slogan of putting America first actually meant the U.S. would be dead last in the fight against climate change.

“And that Trump’s economic agenda has more to with rolling back rules that help keep our kids safe from toxic pollutants, protect our drinking water, and prevent health problems in senior citizens.

“You know, the ones those special interest groups try to call just “pesky regulations”—and what the rest of us moms, grandmothers, and ordinary people call common sense protections.

“But M. President—apparently it’s not enough to just attack our environment from the Administration.

“If you really want to shape our nation’s environmental laws for generations to come, you put someone on the Supreme Court—for life—who consistently sides with the massive corporations and special interests that put profits ahead of the health and wellbeing of families.

“And boy, did those CEOs and special interests hit the jackpot with President Trump’s nominee.

“You don’t have to spend long looking at Judge Kavanaugh’s record to see that should he be seated, nearly five decades of environmental protection are at risk, including the protections enshrined in the Clean Air Act, which has significantly cut the smog, smoot, and chemicals that choked communities across the country prior to 1970, and prevented hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and cases of heart disease in the years since.

“Also at risk: the Clean Water Act, which, if erased, would take us back to the bad old days before common sense protections, like when the Cuyahoga River was so polluted it caught fire; when shellfish beds were closed in Puget Sound, nearly decimated by pollutants; or when an estimated 20 million gallons of sewage effluent flowed into Lake Washington—every single day.

“M. President, I could go on and on about the strides our country has made to keep families safe.

“But the bottom line is that because of our landmark environmental laws like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, our rivers are cleaner, our air is easier to breathe, and families are better protected than ever before.

“And though we still have a lot of work to do, it would be a grave mistake to go backward.

“And that’s just what so many people fear would happen with Judge Kavanaugh on the bench, given his past rulings—and given the test that President Trump applied and his commitment to only nominate someone screened and approved by the extreme right…

“…especially his stance that could take decisions away from our nation’s scientists and non-partisan professionals, and put those decisions into the hands of special interests.

“M. President, that takes me to another issue I want to run through briefly—making sure elections in our country are free and accessible, and that corporations don’t have a louder voice in our process than ordinary voters.

“These are issues where our courts have failed to serve us well in recent years—but by confirming Judge Kavanaugh, we would be cementing this awful pattern in for a generation—and making necessary reform so much more difficult.

“Judge Kavanaugh would continue his habit of ruling to make it harder and harder for citizens to vote and have a voice in our democracy.

“We know this – we saw how he ruled in favor of stricter voter ID laws—ones where the intention to make it harder for Americans to vote is clear.

“And it is absolutely the wrong way to go.

“We cannot have a Supreme Court that continues to allow voter suppression.

“So, I would ask my colleagues—if you believe that voting in our country should be open to all, and that people shouldn’t have less access to the voting booth because of where they live or the color of their skin, join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding someone who will protect our elections and our democracy.

“And if you believe that Citizens United was an awful decision that perverted the First Amendment and put shameful amounts of power into the hands of the mega-rich and the biggest corporations, join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding someone who will put ordinary voters first.

“If we can’t stem the flow of dark, unaccountable money in politics—

“...and reverse the tide of the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations being allowed to have the loudest voices in our elections—

“…we’re going to keep running into massive challenges as a nation.

“But without a Supreme Court willing to do that—without rejecting Judge Kavanaugh and demanding someone else—we can’t do that.

“And M. President—giving the most powerful among us an advantage in our elections is not the only way Judge Kavanaugh is working for those at the top—and I want to briefly discuss another.

“Last month’s Janus decision made it clear that workers—and their unions—need a fair voice on the Supreme Court.

“But unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh has a long record of weakening worker protections, undermining union rights, and making it easier for corporations and special interests to tilt the scales of justice in their favor.

“So, I would urge my colleagues who claim to care about the rights and economic security of working families to join me in rejecting this nomination and putting the power back into the hands of working families and the middle class.

"M. President—and this point is especially potent given the disgrace we witnessed in Helsinki: every American should be deeply concerned about President Trump putting someone on the Supreme Court who is prepared to protect him from legal attack and do his bidding.

“And as we all watch, many of us in horror and dismay, as President Trump continues to do everything in his power to try and discredit the Mueller investigation—

“…we cannot forget for a moment that his Supreme Court nominee suggested in a 2009 law review article that a sitting president shouldn’t be subjected to criminal investigation or civil or criminal litigation.

“M. President—does anyone think for one second that this isn’t something President Trump was looking for?

“Is there anyone who has seen how President Trump has acted—listened to what he has said—who thinks that he’s not thinking about what happens if something related to this investigation goes to the Supreme Court?

“M. President—President Trump controls the White House, his Republicans control both houses of Congress, and the last thing we need—the last thing any American who truly cares about our country should want—is to place the last remaining branch, the final branch intended to be independent, to put our constitution first—into the hands of a Trump lackey.

“That would be awful—it would eliminate even the pretense of checks and balances—and if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, with his record and given what we know about President Trump—that is exactly what would happen.

“So if you believe we should be taking the Russian election interference into U.S. elections seriously—join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding someone who would be truly independent and place an appropriate check on executive power.

“If you believe a president is not above the law— join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding someone who will take our constitution, and judicial independence, seriously.

“And if you believe that executive power is not unilateral—and that real checks and balances are required—join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding someone who will clearly and unequivocally make sure that continues to be a reality.  

“And finally, I want to highlight Judge Kavanaugh’s troubling record on commonsense gun safety—an issue that has certainly hit close to home for far too many people in recent years.

“Churches, schools, concerts—it seems like no place is immune to the rampant gun violence happening across this country, which is why millions of Americans have taken to the streets in recent months to demand action.

“And yet at the same time, Judge Kavanaugh has taken a far more expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment, and has vigorously argued that assault weapons bans are unconstitutional.

“His position is far more extreme than even the late Justice Scalia.

“It’s no wonder the NRA immediately applauded Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination— and has pledged to spend untold amounts to seal the deal on his confirmation.

“Those are just a few issues weighing on so many people’s minds right now.

“I could go on and on about what’s at stake as President Trump turns his White House—and potentially the judicial system—into one that favors the powerful few.

“I’d like to close by saying that there are few things I take as seriously as a Senator than my duty to consider and vote on Supreme Court nominees.

“And in my time in the Senate, I’ve had the opportunity to consider nominees from Democrats, and nominees from Republicans.

“I voted for some of them and I voted against some of them, each on their merits, and each based on how I think they would serve.

“But, M. President, this time is different.

“We know exactly where President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will fall on the specific issues, no matter what vague answers Judge Kavanaugh chooses to deliver through this process.

“We know this, because President Trump told us: openly, publicly, and repeatedly.

“The president laid out specific tests—and promised to only pick nominees from a pre-screened list of people who would absolutely meet them.

“So nobody should be fooled.

“Judge Kavanaugh is a rubber stamp. He will stand with special interests over families, and he will take our country in the wrong direction.

“So I urge my colleagues to stand with me in rejecting Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, and join me in calling on President Trump to send us someone who would stand with women, workers, and families…

“…and who would truly commit to respecting settled law and the rights and freedoms we hold dear, and the long-standing protections that help keep our families safe and healthy.

“Thank you, I yield the floor.”