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Democrats Lament, Conservatives Celebrate After Kavanaugh Sworn In

Supporters welcome Brett Kavanaugh's conservative influence on the court, but liberals are fuming.

The members of Rhode Island's all-Democratic Congressional delegation expressed frustration following the confirmation and swearing-in of a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Senator Jack Reed, who voted against Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, called him unqualified to serve on the nation's highest court.

"I had serious concerns about his partisan history, expansive view of presidential power, and lack of candor about his work in the Bush White House," Reed said in a written statement explaining his vote.

Referring to Kavanuagh's testimony before a Senate committee about allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct, Reed described Kavanaugh as "unhinged," saying his conduct was "not in keeping with the standards of a Supreme Court justice."

Kavanaugh was emotional during the hearing, shedding tears at several moments, including as he described the impact the allegations have had on himself and his family. He also expressed anger, lashing out at Democrats who he accused of orchestrating a smear campaign to stop his nomination.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, echoed Reed's concerns about Kavanaugh's judicial views and his conduct during the hearing.

"His bitter, partisan conspiracy theories ought to disqualify any nominee to the bench," Whitehouse said.

Like many Democrats, Whitehouse praised Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor from California, for her courage in coming forward. He called her allegations "credible" in a statement sent to reporters over the weekend.

"Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony lit a fire," Whitehouse said. "Like the brave Rhode Island women who shared their own stories with me this week, Americans are shedding the long and unfair legacy of shame, fear, and stigma associated with sexual violence and trauma, to come forward with their experiences."

Whitehouse's Republican challenger in November, Bob Flanders, took a different view. Flanders criticized Whitehouse for playing partisan politics with a Supreme Court nomination.

"Despite the desperate attempts by partisan, far-left Senators, including Rhode Island's junior Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, to derail Judge Kavanaugh's nomination with false accusations of sexual misconduct, the Senate yesterday confirmed an accomplished jurist's appointment to the US Supreme Court," Flanders said on Saturday.

Flanders, a former Rhode Island Supreme Court justice, has said he believes Kavanaugh is well-qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.


Rhode Island's senior U.S. Senator Jack Reed
Rhode Island's senior U.S. Senator Jack Reed
RIPR file photo
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The Kavanaugh family stands next to President Donald Trump during the announcement of Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court.
The Kavanaugh family stands next to President Donald Trump during the announcement of Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court.
The White House/Public Domain
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Rhode Island U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the Senate floor.
Rhode Island U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the Senate floor.
Office of Senator Whitehouse