The big news on Capitol Hill Tuesday was the unveiling of Trump’s nomination for the supreme court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh who, if voted in, will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy when he retires this summer. The big word in that sentence being “if,” as many Democrats are already lining up in opposition of the conservative judge. Metro caught up with New York’s Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ahead of her appearance at next weekend’s OZY Fest in Central Park to get her thoughts on Trump's controversial nomination.
NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand weighs in on Brett Kavanaugh
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh was not necessarily the pick that most people predicted that he'd choose. When this goes to a vote in the Senate, will you vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court?
Gillibrand: I definitely do not support this pick and he will be someone who will undermine women’s rights and gay rights. I am very concerned about his record. I am very concerned about his past statements. I will definitely be voting against. I imagine this is something that we will be talking about at the OZY Fest as well.
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Do you see a firm opposition to Kavanaugh's nomination as being a strategy from your Democratic colleagues in the Senate?
Gillibrand: I hope that all Democrats vote against him and I hope that this is something our constituents speak out loudly and clearly about, because his record is really against our values in multiple ways. He has a terrible record for women’s rights, for immigration rights. He prayed on the dissent in Roe V. Wade. He criticized Justice Roberts for upholding the health care law. I think he has a very, very toxic record and I hope that our colleagues all stand against him.
Kavanaugh has also previously voiced his belief that “we should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations or criminal prosecutions.” So if Mueller were to find anything in his investigation, would it be safe to guess that he'd side with the Trump administration?
Gillibrand: Right. His words about the role of the special counsel and the authority that he believes the President has are very far outside of the mainstream. I hope that this is something that my constituents across New York are paying attention to, and across the country. I hope they speak out loudly. I hope they speak strongly about why this justice is so far out of the mainstream that he should not be confirmed and create a rallying cry around the country to pressure senators to vote no.
Do you think that this vote for confirmation should be pushed back until after the midterm elections?
Gillibrand: This is the rule that Mitch McConnell created and Mitch McConnell should have to abide by the rule he created. And further to that, women voters — particularly — should have a say in who this next justice is going to be. That next election is an opportunity for people to vote with their conscience about who they want to control the Senate and what they want the Congress to look like. And I think Mitch McConnell should apply the same rule he applied to President Obama and he should wait until after the election.