Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Opposes Kavanaugh

Hugh Fox
October 7, 2018

"But his performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind".

Stevens had praised Kavanaugh in his 2014 book "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution", the Post noted. "I've changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability", the 98-year-old said.

The retired Supreme Court justice said there is "merit" in the criticism that Kavanaugh "has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential (litigation) before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities".

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Kavanaugh was accused in September of committing sexual and physical assault more than 30 years ago, and he testified about the alleged incident at a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Kavanaugh's statements at those hearings, Stevens said, revealed prejudices that would make it impossible for him to do the court's work, a point he said had been made by prominent commentators.

Kavanaugh opponents held nationwide protests on Thursday, including a demonstration across the street from the ABA's headquarters in Chicago.

"The senators should really pay attention to it for the good of the court", Stevens said.

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"I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said".

Stevens said political leaders and the court have failed to fix the nation's confidence in the judicial branch's separation from the president and the Legislature.

It's rare for a retired justice to weigh in on a pending nomination. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1975 after being nominated to the court by President Gerald Ford. In the past several weeks, he has been accused of engaging in gang rapes and sexual misconduct dating back more than three decades - claims that he has denied and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a supplemental inquiry concluded earlier this week, could not corroborate. In his retirement, he has called for the Second Amendment to be repealed.

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Though he was appointed by a Republican and is a lifelong member of the GOP, Stevens has at times sided with liberal justices on key issues. Kavanaugh denies the allegations. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who broke with her party on Friday who voted against advancing (against a cloture motion to end Senate debate) Kavanaugh's nomination, voted "present".

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