Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch met with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday morning and said his confirmation “will go well.”
And, in an interview earlier, he predicted that the potential new justice wouldn’t be the deciding vote in overturning Roe v. Wade, the decision legalizing abortion nationwide. Instead, Hatch called Roe “a settled opinion.”
Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate who has participated in 15 confirmation battles, reiterated his argument that Democrats will try to paint Kavanaugh as someone he’s not but that, in the end, he’ll get a seat on the high court.
“I think his confirmation will go well,” Hatch said during brief remarks to reporters before meeting more privately with Kavanaugh. “There will be the usual attempts to sully his reputation not only in the Senate but outside the Senate, but he’ll be able to handle it. I have every confidence this man should be confirmed.”
President Donald Trump tapped Kavanaugh, a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, to take the vacancy being left by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. It is customary for nominees to meet with senators, particularly the senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hatch has said he’ll “lift heaven and earth” to get Kavanaugh confirmed.
In a post-meeting tweet, Hatch’s office said the senator gave Kavanaugh advice on the confirmation process and how to prepare for likely questions about his record.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York has already said of Kavanaugh that he’d “oppose him with everything I’ve got,” and signaled Wednesday that Democrats would be vetting not only Kavanaugh’s record on the bench but also his work as an official in the George W. Bush White House and for the special prosecutor during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
“Judge Kavanaugh has also written some troubling things about environmental protections, consumer protections, and common-sense gun safety laws — all of which should be carefully examined by this Senate and by the American people before we have any hearings,” Schumer said.
“His history as a Republican partisan lawyer during the Clinton and Bush eras — documents, emails, and writings — need to be thoroughly examined, particularly his more recent writings about executive authority.”
Hatch also said Tuesday that Democrats’ concern that Kavanaugh’s appointment to the court would endanger abortion rights was overblown and labeled it “pathetic” as a rallying cry against him.
“Well, I don’t think anybody is going to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Hatch told Judy Woodruff on “PBS NewsHour.” “It’s a settled opinion that, yes, a lot of conservatives would like to see it overturned, but, actually, he’s got bigger fish to fry.
“So I doubt seriously that that’s really a legitimate concern. I think it becomes a false concern, so that they can vote against people like this good judge,” Hatch continued. “And, frankly, I think it’s pathetic that one issue like that would cause an otherwise really outstanding person to have the Democrats go against them.”