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File photo of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., by James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

McConnell calls Kavanaugh a ‘superb’ court pick

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a “superb” Supreme Court pick and that senators should “put partisanship aside” in considering him.

President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination Monday evening.

Democrats are already lining up against Kavanaugh as too conservative. But McConnell said senators should give him “the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command.”

McConnell said Kavanaugh believes judges should ignore their personal and political views and simply “interpret our laws as they are written.”

The Kentucky Republican faces a challenge in winning Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Republicans hold a mere 50-49 Senate majority, with the prolonged absence of the ailing Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain. The defection of one Republican would kill the nomination unless at least one Democrat votes yes.

The Senate’s top Democrat, however, says President Donald Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court puts abortion rights and health care protections for women “on the judicial chopping block.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says by picking Kavanaugh, Trump is delivering on his pledge to “punish” women for their choices.

He says he will fight the nomination “with everything I have.” He’s urging people to make their voices heard, an indirect reference to voicing their objections to senators.

Schumer says if Kavanaugh is confirmed, “women’s reproductive rights would be in the hands of five men on the Supreme Court.”

Schumer and other Democrats have cited campaign statements Trump made to assert that any of the candidates Trump mulled would oppose abortion rights and the Obama-era health care law.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said he’s keeping an “open mind” on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The conservative senator tweeted Monday that he looks forward to the upcoming Senate hearings, reviewing the circuit court judge’s record “and meeting personally with Judge Kavanaugh, with an open mind.”

Paul was among conservatives signing on to a statement of support last week for fellow conservative Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

Conservative and libertarian-leaning activists raised concerns about Kavanaugh. Some conservatives said Paul said he might oppose a Kavanaugh nomination, but Paul did not publicly say he would vote against him.


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