Today, Senator Susan Collins gave an excellent speech on the Senate floor, carefully analyzing Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record and criticizing the efforts to smear his character. When she finished speaking, Senator Lamar Alexander immediately took the floor to praise her speech.
But today we have come to the conclusion of a confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion. . . .
So I began my evaluation of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination by reviewing his 12-year record on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, including his more than 300 opinions and his many speeches and law review articles. Nineteen attorneys, including lawyers from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, briefed me many times each week and assisted me in evaluating the judge’s extensive record. I met with Judge Kavanaugh for more than two hours in my office. I listened carefully to the testimony at the Committee hearings. I spoke with people who knew him personally, such as Condoleezza Rice and many others. And, I talked with Judge Kavanaugh a second time by phone for another hour to ask him very specific additional questions. . . .
In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be. We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy.
The presumption of innocence is relevant to the advice and consent function when an accusation departs from a nominee’s otherwise exemplary record. I worry that departing from this presumption could lead to a lack of public faith in the judiciary and would be hugely damaging to the confirmation process moving forward. . . .
Mr. President, we’ve heard a lot of charges and counter charges about Judge Kavanaugh. But as those who have known him best have attested, he has been an exemplary public servant, judge, teacher, coach, husband, and father. Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our Judiciary and our highest court is restored. Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
While it looks likely that Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed in the next few days, we can take nothing for granted in this acrimonious confirmation process. Senator Collins and her staff have endured some of the most hateful attacks from far-left organizations in this confirmation process, but she has stood strong and evaluated Judge Kavanaugh as she evaluates all judicial nominees: by seriously considering his record and applying basic principles of fairness to attacks against him. She and the other Republican senators deserve our thanks for not only supporting Judge Kavanaugh but also for persevering against all the attacks and harassment they have faced.