Justice Kavanaugh Hears First Supreme Court Arguments

‘His confirmation last week was a victory for the very same principles of fairness and justice that we will now count on him -- along with his fellow justices -- to uphold. And Saturday’s vote was also a victory for the Senate, and for the integrity of our institution. Reason and deliberation triumphed over what was, literally, an attempt to sway the Senate using mob tactics.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh:

“Yesterday, I was honored to attend the ceremonial swearing-in for the newest member of our Supreme Court -- Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Justice Kavanaugh’s remarks yesterday affirmed yet again what his record and his testimony clearly told us: He will be a thoughtful, fair-minded justice who’s committed to applying our laws and Constitution as they are actually written.

“His confirmation last week was a victory for the very same principles of fairness and justice that we will now count on him -- along with his fellow justices -- to uphold. And Saturday’s vote was also a victory for the Senate, and for the integrity of our institution. Reason and deliberation triumphed over what was, literally, an attempt to sway the Senate using mob tactics. I wish this were an exaggeration. It isn’t. While many came to Washington peacefully to share their stories, the loudest voices proved to be those of the politically-motivated far left.

“The same far-left special interests that had pledged total opposition to any Supreme Court nominee before the ink was even dry on Justice Kennedy’s retirement pulled out all the stops. They did everything they could. When it became clear Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination would not be stopped on the merits -- well, as we now know, that was only the beginning. Far-left activists decided that United States Senators should be harassed and intimidated wherever they might be -- in a restaurant with family, or getting out of their own car, or in their own homes.

“When they did not get their way, when these tactics failed to sway us, they just turned up the anger even more. Protestors disregarded the men and women of Capitol Police, trampled barricades, stormed the steps of the Capitol and the Supreme Court, climbed on statues, and tried to literally shout down Senators as they voted. When the dust settled, literally hundreds of arrests had been made. Extraordinary security measures were required to protect the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Kavanaugh family. And members of this body, and Senate staff, have received threats of violence and murder.

“After all that, I’m afraid the far left had only succeeded in only one thing: They made it even more difficult for the vast majority of Americans to take them seriously. But the madness hasn’t stopped. They’re already signaling that even more drastic steps may be necessary, now that Justice Kavanaugh is on the court. Some left-wing publications are already trying to lay the groundwork for -- you guessed it -- literally packing the Court with more justices. That’s right: The far left has gone scrounging through the ash-heap of American history and they’re bandying about that discredited fantasy from the 1930s.

“In the meantime, while the groundwork is laid for this scheme, one far-left pressure group is already trying to circulate petitions that Justice Kavanaugh should be impeached. The mob would like to make itself perfectly clear. If Democrats retake Congress, quote, ‘progressives expect them to use their full power to get Kavanaugh off the bench.’ So it’s obvious: The all-consuming animosity toward this nominee, independent of all the facts, and all the evidence, is still being stoked.

“The far-left mob is not letting up. Earlier today, former Secretary of State Clinton sent this signal as clear as day. She told CNN exactly how she views millions of Americans who hold different political views from her own: ‘You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for…If we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.’

“No peace until they get their way? More of these unhinged tactics? Apparently this is the left’s rallying cry. But fortunately, the American people know that the fact-free politics of hate, fear, and intimidation are not how we actually govern in our democratic republic. The Senate -- and the nation -- will not be intimidated.


“I’d like to conclude today where I started -- with a few words of thanks for a job well done. Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation could not have happened without tireless work from so many. So while I certainly can’t mention everyone who deserves it, I want take a moment to express gratitude.

“First, of course, is President Trump himself -- for sending the Senate such a talented and qualified nominee. He and Vice President Pence are stalwart champions for the judiciary that the American people deserve. My deep gratitude is also with White House Counsel Don McGahn. Without Don’s total dedication to ensuring Judge Kavanaugh received a fair hearing, we would not be where we are today.

“Here in the Senate, I cannot compliment enough our dear friend Chairman Grassley for his leadership of the Judiciary Committee. He balanced strong leadership with generosity and flexibility to all Members. He oversaw the most thorough, painstaking review of a Supreme Court nominee in our nation’s history.

“Supporting Chairman Grassley and the committee, I’d like to mention: Staff Director Kolan Davis, Chief Nominations Counsel Mike Davis, Steve Kenny, Lauren Mehler, Andrew Ferguson, Taylor Foy, Rachel Mitchell, Katharine Willey, Jessica Vu, George Hartmann, Jill Kozeny and Jennifer Heins in Senator Grassley’s office, and an entire team of truly outstanding staff.

“Thanks are also due to the Republican Whip, Senator Cornyn, and his excellent team, led by Monica Popp. And all of the dedicated floor staff who make this body function -- Laura Dove, Robert Duncan, and the entire cloakroom team; the Secretary of the Senate, Parliamentarians, the clerks, reporters of debates, Sergeant at Arms, and our doorkeepers.

“On my own team, I cannot imagine this process -- or really, my office at all -- without the crucial leadership of Sharon Soderstrom, my chief of staff. She works harder and achieves more -- under more pressure -- than almost anyone I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Don Stewart, my deputy chief of staff, is the expert hand who helps keep us on course and shapes our communications strategy. Hazen Marshall, my policy director, helped keep this and other priorities on track, including the other bipartisan policy wins the Senate delivered during the nomination debate.

“And John Abegg -- my chief counsel and right-hand man for every step of this process. For fifteen weeks, John poured his determination, his experience, and his wisdom into this process. He started working the moment Justice Kennedy announced he was stepping down and did not stop until the gavel fell. We wouldn’t be here without his work. I’m grateful to my policy advisors, my communications team, and my operations staff for all the hard work and late nights they poured into this process. And to Phil Maxson and my personal office team for their assistance.

“But most important of all, I need to close with this. To the men and women of the United States Capitol Police, and all the other law enforcement officers who kept Members, staff, and citizens safe -- even in extremely difficult and often hostile circumstances -- we really cannot thank you enough. Our representative government and the rule of law depend on your dedication, your bravery, and your sacrifice. Thank you so much for keeping the Senate safe.”

Related Issues: History, Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations, Nominations