All Politics is Local

Supreme Court nomination is “high stakes”

Those representing Southwest Washington are concerned about President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. Well, most of them are.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, is the exception.

The 3rd Congressional District representative didn’t say she supported the nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but she also didn’t express any concern about his appointment.

“The authority to confirm a Supreme Court justice lies solely with the U.S. Senate, so I am learning about Judge Kavanaugh at the same time as everyone else,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement. “The successor to Justice Kennedy must view adherence to the U.S. Constitution as their primary duty, and I’ll be studying Judge Kavanaugh’s background and following the nomination process to see whether he meets this vital qualification.”

Washington’s senators, governor and Democratic Party were explicitly distressed by the announcement.

“I have grave concerns about this nomination and Judge Kavanaugh’s previous decisions on net neutrality and health care,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has spoken twice publicly on the matter since the announcement was made Monday evening.

Her initial reaction addressed the explicit expectations Trump has of any nominee, including rolling back Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act, giving more power to corporations and removing environmental protections and the rights of the LGBTQ community.

“I voted against Judge Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Circuit Court, and based on his record as a judge and everything I know about him, he is exactly what President Trump is looking for and would swing the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation against women, workers, patients, and families, ” Murray said. “So I will I oppose this nomination and I will strongly encourage my Senate colleagues to stand with me and with people across the country in rejecting him. And then I will urge President Trump to nominate someone who is clearly and strongly committed to not rolling back settled law when it comes to women’s health and patient protections — and to protecting the rights and freedoms that people across the country hold so dear.”

Murray continued that now is not the time to sit back and watch when the “future of our nation hangs in the balance.”

“We just need a few Republicans in this Republican-majority Senate to stand up to President Trump and stand with Democrats and people across the country in rejecting this nominee,” she said. “So I urge every American — in red states and blue states, big cities and small towns — to make their voice heard right now: call your Senator, show up at rallies, organize online and in person. Make it clear to Senate Republicans that you care about your rights and freedoms and that you need them to stand with you and oppose this nominee who would move our country so far in the wrong direction.”

Gov. Jay Inslee agreed with Murray’s analysis of the situation at hand.

“The stakes for this court nomination couldn’t be higher,” Inslee said in a statement. “President Trump has made clear his intent is to stack the bench with conservative-backed activists who will help advance his efforts to dismantle health care, civil rights, labor rights and women’s right to choose.”

Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski summarized the announcement as such: “Brett Kavanaugh is a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and gut the Affordable Care Act. Simply put, if Kavanaugh ends up on the Supreme Court, Americans will suffer. So now we fight like hell. We fight like hell.”

Katy Sword

I cover the city of Vancouver and federal politics. Reach me at katy.sword@columbian.com.

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