By Eric Halperin
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Throughout the entire confirmation process, Rhode Island’s congressional delegation have spoken out against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Now that he’s been confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, their feelings have not changed.
In a narrow vote of 50 to 48 Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate to become a Supreme Court Justice. Two of those ‘nay’ votes came from Rhode Island’s democratic Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed.
Whitehouse serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony about sexual assault allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh.
Shortly after Kavanaugh was voted in, Whitehouse released the following statement:
“I developed deep concerns with Judge Kavanaugh early in this process. He holds a narrow view of constitutional protections for women, a troubling affinity for dark money, and a worrying disregard for precedent and important judicial principles. Also, he sides – nine times out of ten – with big Republican corporate and special interests over regular Americans. Our next justice needs to remain independent of those interests; Judge Kavanaugh signaled the opposite. That cost him my vote.
“Then came credible allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh, and remarkable testimony from Dr. Blasey Ford. She was calm, composed, and utterly believable. President Trump called her testimony ‘credible’ and ‘compelling,’ as did many of my Republican colleagues. She even provided real evidence, including prior consistent statements, to corroborate her account.”
“We then learned the true measure of Kavanaugh. His bitter, partisan conspiracy theories ought to disqualify any nominee to the bench, let alone to the highest court in the land. Through this dark episode for the Senate and our democracy, I find reason to hope. President Trump mocked her, and Republicans ignored her, but Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony lit a fire. Like the brave Rhode Island women who shared their own stories with me this week, Americans are shedding the long and unfair legacy of shame, fear, and stigma associated with sexual violence and trauma, to come forward with their experiences. It has been a personal honor to share this moment with these Rhode Islanders, and to be trusted with their stories, and I am very hopeful the fire they lit will lead to change.”
On Friday night, Whitehouse spoke on the Senate floor about why he believes Kavanagh is not fit for the position.
“I did not find him credible at all. I found him belligerent and aggressive, just as his Yale drinking buddies said he was when drunk in college, and evasive, and non-responsive,” Whithouse said.
Saturday morning, Whitehouse’s challenger for his senate seat called the senator out for his behavior during the Kavanaugh hearings.
“I’m here to charge Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse with abusing his seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and with disgracing that seat through his actions and statements throughout the tumultuous Kavanagh hearings,” Bob Flanders said.
During his event Flanders also called Kavanaugh an “outstanding American.”
Congressman Jim Langevin also issued a statement after the Senate voted saying he was ‘deeply disappointed.’
“The events of the past several weeks surrounding his confirmation hearings have convinced me that Judge Kavanaugh does not have the temperament to credibly act as a nonpartisan arbiter of justice, and many questions remain about the accusations that he sexually assaulted women in his youth,” Langevin said.
“When President Trump first nominated Kavanaugh, I expressed my grave concerns that he would represent a departure from the independent voice of Justice Kennedy. Unfortunately, as he prepares to take his seat on the high court, I fear Justice Kavanaugh’s term will only exacerbate the divisions in our society and further erode public faith in our institutions,” Langevin said.