Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee and front-runner in Utah’s U.S. Senate race, said Friday that had he been in office, he would have supported the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who appears poised to be confirmed Saturday.
“I would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” Romney said, “given his decades of admirable public service and his 12-year record as an accomplished justice on the second highest court of the land.”
Romney’s statement was released shortly before national reports that key Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., had announced that they’ll support Kavanaugh’s confirmation ahead of a final vote expected Saturday. The two senators' votes effectively ensure the embattled nominee, who has been accused of sexual assault, will be seated on the high court.
Jenny Wilson, the Democrat running for Senate in Utah, said she disagrees with the confirmation. Kavanaugh lacks the necessary judicial temperament, she said, and the uncertainty surrounding his past leaves her with “grave concerns.”
“I join many Americans, women and professionals within the legal field in believing we can do better than confirming Judge Kavanaugh,” she said.
Wilson had previously criticized outgoing Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, for his treatment of Kavanaugh’s accusers, saying the Senate has a constitutional responsibility to thoroughly vet judicial appointees.
Utah’s sitting senators, Hatch and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have been consistent Kavanaugh backers.