Two red-state Democrats met with President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill Wednesday for what was described by one as a “productive meeting.”
Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., sat down with Judge Brett Kavanaugh in their respective offices for meetings that lasted more than an hour each. Both lawmakers released statements about their encounter with the U.S. Circuit Court Judge.
“I had a wide-ranging conversation and productive meeting with Judge Kavanaugh,” Donnelly said. “This was an important opportunity to sit down and talk in-depth with Judge Kavanaugh about: his record; experience working in the Bush Administration and serving on the federal bench; and views on the role of the Supreme Court as well as on a range of issues including precedent, health care, and judicial independence.”
Heitkamp said she and Kavanaugh spoke about a range of issues related to the nation’s highest court, including keeping it free of politics.
“Today, Judge Kavanaugh and I had a thorough and substantive discussion about the importance of the rule of law, precedent, ethical standards at the U.S. Supreme Court, reaching more consensus on the Court, and avoiding activism from the bench so the Court is shielded from politics,” Heitkamp said.
“I learned more about his judicial record and temperament — which will also hopefully become clearer during his Senate hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I reinforced to him how critical it is that anyone who serves on the U.S. Supreme Court is pragmatic, compassionate, committed to justice, and impartial so that everyone before the Court gets a fair hearing.”
Donnelly and Heitkamp indicated they are reserving their decision on whether or not to vote for Kavanaugh until after his confirmation hearings with the Senate Judiciary Committee, which begin Sept. 4.
Heitkamp made a point of saying she would not be swayed by other Democratic lawmakers and outside groups in making her decision.
“Many special interest groups and members of Congress have stated their opinions on how I should vote. They did so before I’ve been able to do my job of fully considering this nominee,” she said.
Donnelly and Heitkamp represent states that voted for Republican President Donald Trump in the last election.
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