WASHINGTON D.C. – Judge Brett Kavanaugh, in his first major test as a Supreme Court nominee on Capitol Hill, is expected to tell members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he is a “pro-law judge” at his confirmation hearing Tuesday.
“A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy,” he will say, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks. “I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.”
Likening a judge to an umpire could be a reference to Chief Justice John Roberts’ confirmation hearing back in 2005, when he said his “job is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”
President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee is poised to succeed swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, the conservative-centrist who joined with liberals in some key decisions to uphold abortion rights. Kennedy was also the decisive vote for same-sex marriage and university affirmative action.
“To me, Justice Kennedy is a mentor, a friend, and a hero. As a Member of the Court, he was a model of civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the Judiciary. And he was a champion of liberty,” Kavanaugh will say, per the excerpts.
Kavanaugh, currently a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will also praise his colleague Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee.
“I have served with 17 other judges, each of them a colleague and a friend, on a court now led by our superb chief judge, Merrick Garland,” the prepared remarks say.