ON “CBS THIS MORNING,” SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER VOWS TO OPPOSE KAVANAUGH NOMINATION WITH “EVERYTHING I’VE GOT”
Senator Chuck Schumer joined CBS THIS MORNING today for his first interview following the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Below is a transcript, video and CBSNews.com story.
NORAH O’DONNELL: And on that point, we’re talking now with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who joins us from Capitol Hill for an interview you’ll see first on CBS THIS MORNING. Senator Schumer, good morning.
CHUCK SCHUMER: Good morning.
NORAH O’DONNELL: We know that if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, this will shift the balance of power on the Supreme Court for decades to come. Republicans control the majority. Is there anything you can do to stop this nomination?
CHUCK SCHUMER: Yes. Well, President Trump with the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh has fulfilled or is fulfilling two of his campaign promises. First, to undo women’s reproductive freedom. Second, to undo ACA. And so I will oppose him with everything I’ve got. Now, on these two issues, when he campaigned, President Trump said he will only appoint pro-life judges. He wanted to send Roe back to the states. That means repeal. And who has vetted these judges? A preordained list of 25 preordained by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. The Federalist Society is run by a man named Leonard Leo, whose goal in life has been to repeal Roe v. Wade. Ed Whelan, leading conservative commentator, said that no one has done more to create a Supreme Court that would repeal Roe than Leonard Leo. He created the list from which –
NORAH O’DONNELL: But, senator –
CHUCK SCHUMER: – Trump chose. Similarly –
NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator –
CHUCK SCHUMER: – one more point here on health care. President Trump said he wanted to repeal ACA, unlike what Justice Roberts wanted to do. And the Heritage Foundation, which also vetted this list, is firmly in favor of repealing. So you put those things together, Trump, what he said, who he was going to choose, and the vetting of this list, these two – this nominee will repeal Roe and women’s reproductive freedom –
NORAH O’DONNELL: But, senator, you’ve already –
CHUCK SCHUMER: – will repeal ACA, far against what the American people want. And when the –
NORAH O’DONNELL: I hear you. Senator –
CHUCK SCHUMER: – American people learn this –
NORAH O’DONNELL: – let me just get in a question, please.
CHUCK SCHUMER: Go ahead. But when they learn this –
NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator, in 2006, you questioned –
CHUCK SCHUMER: – they’re going to oppose the nominee.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator, when you questioned –
CHUCK SCHUMER: Go ahead.
NORAH O’DONNELL: –Brett Kavanaugh previously for an-- for an appointment, you asked him specifically about Roe vs. Wade. And Brett Kavanaugh said that he believed it is binding precedent of the court and he would follow that. It has been reaffirmed many times. So why do you believe that abortion rights in this country are under threat?
CHUCK SCHUMER: Binding. When you say you’ll following binding precedent, that’s been a trick. Look what happened last week. Justice Roberts, Justice Gorsuch, they promised they would follow binding precedent, and they undid 40 years of precedent on labor law in the Janus case. Justice Roberts undid in one of the worst decisions ever – Citizens United reached far back and overturned 100 years of precedent. It is not good enough for them to hide behind this shibboleth that will follow existing law. Because when they get on the bench, they change. And Leonard Leo and the Heritage Foundation would not have put someone on the bench who would keep Roe, who would keep ACA.
JOHN DICKERSON: Senator, when Justice Sotomayor was up for confirmation, nine Republicans voted for her. Justice Kagan, there were five Republicans. Based on the case you just made about Brett Kavanaugh, would it be a betrayal of the party for any Democrat to support him in any way?
CHUCK SCHUMER: Let me say this. I believe if we can prove to the American people, which I believe is truly the case, that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women’s reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for preexisting conditions, we will get a majority of the Senate to vote for it. Obviously even if we had every Democrat, we need two Republicans. But if we can make that case, we will get a majority.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator, Brett Kavanaugh last night made a point to highlight that he’s hired diverse law clerks, that Elena Kagan hired him at Harvard University. We saw Justice Kennedy surprise many with his decisions on both sides of the aisle. What’s to say that a Justice Kavanaugh won’t do the same?
CHUCK SCHUMER: Well, I don’t think he would have been put on this list had he not been one of these hard-right judges. And the two issues I mentioned are important. There are several others. At a time when we have the Mueller investigation, Justice Kavanaugh – Judge Kavanaugh is way at the extremes. He believes a president shouldn’t even be investigated. He has gone so far as to say a president who believes a law is unconstitutional doesn’t have to follow it. So with the Mueller situation, with the overreach of presidential power, we shouldn’t put him on the bench. And then on gun rights, on LGBTQ rights, on environmental rights, he’s way to the right of the American people. I don’t believe because he had law clerks of some sort that that makes him any better. The president is fulfilling his campaign promise, hired – hired the most conservative groups to come up with a list, and chose from the list. The president shouldn’t have chosen from the list. And maybe there’d be far more bipartisan support.
NORAH O’DONNELL: A lot of pressure on those five red-state Democrats. Senator Schumer, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
CHUCK SCHUMER: Thank you very much. Good to be with you.
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Sen. Chuck Schumer tells CBS THIS MORNING that he will work to oppose President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with “everything I’ve got,” adding that he’s confident there will be a majority in the Senate that will do the same.
“President Trump with the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh has fulfilled two of his campaign promises – first to undo women’s reproductive freedom and second to undo the ACA (Affordable Care Act),” Schumer said.
His comments come after Mr. Trump made his primetime pick Tuesday evening of the Bush-appointed judge to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court left by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
While Kavanaugh during previous confirmation hearings has said that he believes Roe v. Wade is “binding precedent of the court” and would follow such a ruling and not move to undo the landmark abortion case, Schumer called such a statement “a trick.”
“Look what happened last week. Justice Roberts, Justice Gorsuch, they promised they would follow binding precedent, and they undid 40 years of precedent on labor law in the Janus case. Justice Roberts undid in one of the worst decisions ever, Citizens United, reached far back and overturned 100 years of precedent,” said Schumer.
He added, “It’s not good enough for them to hide behind the shibboleth that will follow existing law because when they get on the bench they change.”
Schumer said that Kavanaugh would not have been put on the list of 25 candidates compiled for the president to select from by the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers’ group, “had he not been one of these hard-right judges.”
Schumer said he was confident that the Democratic party can “prove to the American people, which I believe is truly the case, that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women’s reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions, we’ll get a majority of the Senate to vote for it.”
He noted, “Obviously even if we had every Democrat, we need two Republicans, but if we can make that case, we will get a majority.”
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