State leaders push for confirmation
CHARLESTON — Leaders in the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates are calling on the state’s senators in Washington, D.C., to quickly confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
The press conference, held Friday morning in the Senate President’s Conference Room at the State Capitol, was put on by Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative non-profit group focused on judicial reform.
Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, called on the U.S. Senate to confirm Brett Kananaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit, as an associate justice on the U.S Supreme Court. Kavanaugh was nominated by Trump in July to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired.
“(Trump) has picked a judge that exemplifies all of the qualities he spoke of during his campaign,” Carmichael said. “He has picked a person who will adhere to the constitutional requirements of fair judicial rulings, impartial verdicts, and done with a blind eye toward any particular party.”
“Judge Kananaugh’s qualifications are impeccable. They speak for themselves,” Hanshaw said. “For the benefit of West Virginians, we call upon our senators for a speedy confirmation.”
U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., met with Kavanaugh in July. The Senate Judiciary Committee starting Tuesday held three days of hearings with Kavanaugh.
“After having the chance to meet with Judge Kavanaugh a number of times, thoroughly review his record, and attend parts of his confirmation hearings this week, I am more certain than ever that he is the right person for the job,” Capito said in a statement. “He is a man of integrity and outstanding character; he understands and respects the responsibilities of a Supreme Court justice; and he has proven time and again that he is committed to upholding the Constitution as written. I will continue to support his nomination and look forward to voting to confirm him on the Senate floor soon.”
Carmichael praised Capito for her support of Kavanaugh, but expressed his disappointment that Manchin has not expressed the same amount of support.
“We’re very supportive of the fact that Shelley Capito has already committed her vote to this great nominee,” Carmichael said. “We call upon Sen. Manchin to stop the political shenanigans and get behind a nominee that is well qualified and deserving of the support of our senators.”
Manchin has been reluctant to take a firm stance before hearing from all sides and constituents, instead choosing to be deliberative. He attended Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh and plans to meet with the jurist again.
“When Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced Sen. Manchin gave West Virginians his word that he would give him a fair and thorough examination,” said Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon. “Sen. Manchin thinks it is irresponsible to announce your position on a nominee minutes after the nominee is named and will make a final decision on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination after he has completed a thorough and fair examination of his record.”
While Runyan thanked Carmichael for his opinion on Kavanagh, he accused Carmichael of not listening to Manchin when he urged the Senate president to end the February teacher strike which filled the Capitol with thousands of protesters.
“Sen. Manchin met with Senate President Mitch Carmichael during the educators strike to try to prevent the strike from continuing and asked him to support our teachers, school service personnel and administrators,” Runyan said. “Even though Mitch Carmichael didn’t take his advice, Senator Manchin still appreciates his views on the Supreme Court, just as much as he values the opinions of every other West Virginian. “
Manchin is seeking a second full term as senator. He won a special election in 2010 to replace the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd and won a full term in 2012. Manchin faces against Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in November. Nathan Brand, a spokesperson for the Morrisey campaign, accused Manchin of being a pawn of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“Liberal lying Joe Manchin is putting the interests of Washington Democrats and Chuck Schumer ahead of doing what is right by standing with West Virginians in support of President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court pick,” Brand said. “West Virginians know that Manchin will eventually support Judge Kavanaugh, but his delay tactics only assist Chuck Schumer and radical liberals as they try to obstruct Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee.”
Hanshaw pointed out that the D.C. Circuit, where Kavanaugh is a judge, is where many cases involving Environmental Protection Agency regulations are appealed. Hanshaw cited Kavanaugh’s dissent in White Stallion Energy Center v. Environmental Protection Agency, where Kavanagh said EPA went too far in its policy-making role and didn’t consider the economic impacts of its regulations.
“He’s had a distinguished career on the D.C. circuit court of appeals, which is — by and large — regarded by lawyers as the second most important court in America,” Hanshaw said. “We know that over time, the administrative state has crept into areas where it was never meant to be. Judge Kavanaugh has been a stalwart in making sure those agencies are fulfilling their responsibilities and not going too far.”
Both Carmichael decried attempts by Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay, postpone, and obstruct the hearing. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., started off day one of the confirmation hearings demanding access to additional documents, while Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J., asked for a postponement on day one, and leaked confidential emails from Kavanaugh on day three.
“We are so supportive of this nominee and we are outraged. In fact, I’m disappointed at the behavior I’ve witnessed through these hearings by the liberal wing of the Democrat Party as it relates to Corey Booker, Kamila Harris, and these demands for additional documents,” Carmichael said. “It just seems to me to be ridiculous. Judge Kavanagh has submitted more than 430,000 pages of documentation for committee review, which amounts to twice as much as any other supreme court nominee has submitted during the hearing process.”
“It’s been sad to see what has become of supreme court confirmation proceedings in this country, not just with this nominee but nominees past,” Hanshaw said. “The historical role of the senate has been advise and consent on presidential nominees for federal judicial appointments. Advise and consent, as its historically been understood, is about qualification. It’s not about philosophy and it’s not about opinion.”
Kavanaugh was a lawyer in former President George W. Bush’s White House before being nominated to the D.C. circuit in 2006. Since his time on the circuit, Kavanaugh has penned more than 300 opinions.
“The court convenes on the first Monday in October. That’s less than 30 days from now,” Hanshaw said. “It’s important we go into that with a full court. We hope we have a speedy confirmation.”