Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) referred to Democratic opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a "laughable political game" during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
"They would have opposed for partisan reasons anyone that President Trump nominated," Cotton said.
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Illustrating his point, protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court on Monday night had signs displaying opposition to other potential nominees, including Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge, and Thomas Hardiman. Democratic senators such as Elizabeth Warren joined Monday evening’s protests.
A Yale Law graduate, Kavanaugh clerked for retiring Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy. He has served on the D.C. Circuit Court for 12 years, and he has authored almost 300 opinions.
Akhil Amar, a prominent liberal legal scholar and Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh is the president’s "finest hour, his classiest move."
"It is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge Kavanaugh," Amar added.
Many conservatives have also praised Trump’s selection. Kay Cole James, president of the Heritage Foundation, said Trump "has selected yet another highly-qualified individual who, like Neil Gorsuch, will be impartial, fair, and principled."
Jenny Beth Martin, chairman of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, said Kavanaugh "has a stellar record of as an originalist, and has proven to be a strong defender of the Second Amendment and freedom of speech and religion."
Despite Kavanaugh’s qualifications, some Democrats have already expressed opposition. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) promised to oppose Kavanaugh with "everything I’ve got." Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) issued a statement saying Kavanaugh "has consistently proven to be a conservative ideologue instead of a mainstream jurist."
Democrats are targeting moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) in an effort to overcome the GOP’s slim Senate majority. It is also possible, however, that Democratic senators such as Joe Manchin (W.Va) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), who are up for reelection in red states, could break party lines and support Kavanaugh.