Schumer Floor Remarks On The Confirmation Vote On The Nomination Of Judge Brett Kavanaugh To The Supreme Court

October 6, 2018

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor (at approximately 3:25 p.m.) regarding the confirmation vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now, in a short time, the Senate will take a final vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The road that led us here has been bitter, angry, and partisan; steeped in hypocrisy and hyperbole and resentment and outrage.

From start to finish, President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court has been one of the saddest moments in the history of the Senate. When the history of the Senate is written, this chapter will be a flashing red warning light of what to avoid. Truly, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a low moment for the Senate, for the Court, for the country.

The Republican Majority has conducted one of the least transparent, least fair, most biased processes in Senate history, slanting the table from the very beginning to produce their desired result.

Why do I say this?

Because they withheld over ninety percent of the nominee’s record from the Senate and the American people;

Because they refused to allow Dr. Ford to call a single corroborating witness at the hearing, including the only other eyewitness to the incident; 

Because they refused to have an independent investigation of the facts before the hearing in order to inform the questioning;

Because they hired an outside prosecutor to question Dr. Ford, as if she were on trial;

Because the White House kept the FBI investigation on a short leash, dictating the scope and even the kinds of questions the FBI was allowed to ask;

Because Republican Senators, sensing after Dr. Ford’s testimony that a debate about the truth and the facts was not working, adopted a cynical new strategy to shout, pound the table, and portray Judge Kavanaugh as the helpless victim of some unseen partisan conspiracy;

Because the President of the United States, stooping to new depths, even for him, chose to stand before of a crowd of thousands and cruelly ridicule a survivor of sexual assault;  

And because of this grossly distorted, biased unfair process run by the Republican majority, the Senate is about to elevate a nominee who doesn’t belong on the nation’s highest bench.

Now, why doesn’t Judge Kavanaugh belong on the bench in the nation’s highest court?

Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench because he obscured his views, shrouding his jurisprudence in smoke so thick the American people would never know what he really believed.

Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench because he was chosen by a president and a far-right organization both dedicated to overturning and undermining Roe v. Wade, and he did not a thing to refute the presumption that he would want to overturn it, too.

Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench because he was chosen by far-right organizations that are bent on repealing health care protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and he did nothing to refute the presumption that he would, too.

Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench because he believes that presidents should not be subject to investigations of any kind while in office, a distortion of our founding principle that no person is above the law.

Judge Kavanaugh does not belong on the bench because his jurisprudence is deeply skeptical of environmental protections, consumer protections, workers’ rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, and of treaties and agreements with Native Nations; and of a host of other hard-earned rights.

Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench because he has repeatedly misled the Senate, putting into serious doubt his credibility – and a judge must be credible, believable, and honest above all.

Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench because he is an extreme partisan, something we have seen from the earliest days of his career and re-confirmed when he gave one of the bitterest, most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee. 

Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench because of his injudicious demeanor. His partisan screed will go down ignominiously in history and made it clear that it will be virtually impossible for him to rule impartially on the Supreme Court. Judges must be temperate, judicious, evenhanded. Judge Kavanaugh is anything but.

Republican leaders knew before he was nominated that Judge Kavanaugh was a very flawed choice. But once President Trump selected him, Republicans decided they had to rush him through. They became a steamroller over truth, fairness, and our traditions of bipartisan cooperation – any means necessary to reach their desired end. They blamed Dr. Ford and Democrats for Judge Kavanaugh’s flaws.

They were intent on shrouding the truth, because they knew that if the truth came to light, Judge Kavanaugh would be exposed as a truly flawed nominee. 

So, my colleagues, my fellow Americans, what is the appropriate response?

Our country needs to have a reckoning on these issues, and there is only one remedy. Change must come from where change in America always begins - the ballot box.

So to Americans, the so many millions, who are outraged by what happened here, there’s one answer: vote.

If you believe Dr. Ford and other brave women who came forward, and you want to vindicate their sacrifice: vote.

If you believe the Supreme Court should uphold women’s rights: vote.

If you believe the Supreme Court must protect health care and our pre-existing conditions that are protected now: vote.

If you believe the Supreme Court should defend workers, consumers, the environment, civil rights, native populations: vote.

If you believe the Supreme Court should be a check on an overreaching president: vote.

If you believe the process here in the Senate was a sham and you believe Americans deserve better: vote.

If you believe that Supreme Court Justices should conform to the highest standards of character, impartiality, temperament, and above all, honesty, and credibility: vote.

I understand, I share the deep anguish that millions of Americans are experiencing today. But I say to you, my fellow Americans, there is one answer: vote.