Local reaction to President Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
On paper, local experts say Judge Brett Kavanaugh's resume easily qualifies him for a spot on the nation's highest court. But politics will play a pivotal role in the lifetime appointment that could have seismic impacts on the future of law in the United States. Kevin Techau is a former U.S. Attorney for Iowa's Northern District and is still a practicing attorney. "He checks all the boxes," Techau said. "He keeps the U.S. Supreme Court an all Ivy-League affair if he's approved he's been had a stellar career both as a special counsel in the Ken Star Investigation & then served in the White House and went on to the judiciary so he's had a very deep law career and has all the background you would expect for a nominee."
Democrats are expected to universally oppose Judge Kavanaugh's nomination. Kavanaugh is widely regarded as a constitutional "originalist," which would put him in a similar conservative faction as Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Justice Atonin Scalia. That's something Democrats almost universally refuse to support. That would force Republican leaders in the Senate to again exercise the "nuclear option" to end debate on the nominee and force an up or down vote.
All of this comes into play four months before the pivotal midterm elections. University of Iowa Professor Tim Hagle says the outcome of the nomination will have major impacts on the vote that will decide Iowa's next Governor, and the makeup of the U.S. House and Senate for the next two years. "If (the GOP) can't get it done it actually might help the Republicans because if the Democrats are able to put up a successful fight, either have a vote before the midterms and have it fail, or just delay that long then it becomes a more potent message potentially for Republicans in the midterms. On the other hand if it's successful, and he is confirmed before the midterms then that's maybe something that the Democrats can use to sort of energize their base."
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee that will question Judge Kavanaugh, called him one of the most qualified nominees to ever be put forth for the U.S. Supreme Court. "His credentials are well known, and he’s served with distinction as a judge on the esteemed D.C. Circuit for more than a decade. He is a superb mainstream candidate worthy of the Senate’s consideration,” Grassley said.
“As we have always done when reviewing nominees for lifetime-appointed judgeships, the Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct a fair and comprehensive evaluation of the nominee’s background and qualifications followed by hearings where we’ll hear directly from the nominee as we fulfill our advice and consent responsibility.”
Senator Joni Ernst echoed that sentiment. “With Iowa’s Senior Senator, Chuck Grassley, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, we have a phenomenal leader overseeing the process to make sure it is smooth and done in a timely manner. Senator Grassley moved Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation through the process superbly, allowing plenty of time for both parties to participate and we did have a successful confirmation. Judge Kavanaugh deserves the same quick, yet comprehensive, process and I believe Senator Grassley will ensure the Supreme Court vacancy is filled in a way that respects the rule of law, as well as the individual being put forth for confirmation."
Both Iowa Senators attended tonight's announcement at the White House.
But One Iowa, a group which supports LGBTQ rights, points to supporters of Kavanaugh in the past labeled hate groups as a disqualifying issue. “President Trump’s clear disdain for an independent judiciary makes it crucial that the Senate confirm only a fair-minded constitutionalist who will keep the White House in check and protect the rights of LGBTQ people, people of color, women, and many others." Said Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Executive Director of One Iowa. “Kavanaugh does not meet that criteria, and in fact his record indicates he is quite the opposite. We urge Sen. Grassley to uphold his responsibility as Chair of the Judiciary Committee and not move forward with this nomination.”