Dem senator says Kavanaugh will be a justice ruling for the powerful, privileged


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) says President Trump’s new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has long lived a privileged life and wants to “rule on behalf of the powerful.”

Merkley, who fought against Kavanaugh’s confirmation from the moment he was nominated, warns that Trump’s Supreme Court pick has expressed some troubling views on whether sitting presidents could be criminally investigated and subsequently indicted, saying this stance would be a “complete rewriting of the Constitution.”

“We find this in his writings time and again, he decides what he wants the outcome to be and then he writes his decision to justify it and he wants to rule on behalf of the powerful,” Merkley said to Hill.TV correspondent Molly Hooper during an interview that aired on Monday.

Kavanaugh’s opinion on whether a sitting president should be immune from criminal charges has been a topic of much discussion ever since Trump first nominated the judge in July.

Some think that an indictment of the president is a potential outcome of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Critics have repeatedly pointed to Kavanaugh’s 2009 Minnesota Law Review article, where he says the prospective of a criminal trial against a president in office would “cripple” the federal government.

Even though the judge has suggested that indicting a sitting president is a bad idea, some experts have previously downplayed some concerns from Democrats like Merkley, arguing that the judge has stopped short of saying whether the Constitution would allow it.

But Merkley argues that while the issue of whether the president can be indicted is valid, Kavanaugh is also out of touch with the average American, saying the judge has lived his entire life among rich and powerful.

“He’s lived his entire life among a privileged group of people, born to private schools, and wealth and doesn’t understand [what] the ordinary Americans face in this country and he certainly didn’t get the values of basic integrity inculcated in his life and that just means he should never be able serve on the court,” the Oregon senator said.

The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh in a narrow 50-48 vote to the high court, marking one of the most brutal and politically divisive confirmation fights in recent history.

Kavanaugh was sworn into the Supreme Court over the weekend. He is expected to be sworn in again in a ceremony with Trump on Monday.

— Tess Bonn

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