WASHINGTON — Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto announced Wednesday that she would not support the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh because of his judicial philosophy and views on abortion rights.
Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said she decided not to support Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, after listening to his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I have determined that his stance on a woman’s right to choose is extreme and disqualifies him from a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.
She said past decisions and dissent by Kavanaugh on the issue led her to believe “his confirmation would tip the balance of the Supreme Court to end Roe v. Wade and imperil American women’s reproductive freedom.”
Cortez Masto opposed the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to a Supreme Court vacancy in 2017.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., supported Gorsuch, and announced his support for Kavanaugh after his nomination by President Donald Trump in July.
Heller said Kavanaugh “respects precedent, defends the Constitution, and doesn’t legislate from the bench.”
A confirmation vote by the Judiciary Committee on the Kavanaugh nomination has been delayed by an allegation from Christine Blasey Ford of California who claims he groped her and tried to take her clothes off during a house party in the District of Columbia suburbs when the two were teenagers, three decades ago.
Cortez Masto has joined her Democratic colleagues in seeking an investigation by the FBI into the allegation by Ford, before the committee proceeds with the confirmation process.
An aide to Cortez Masto said the recent development did not factor into her decision not to support Kavanaugh. The decision was based on Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy.
Heller has urged colleagues in the both parties to cooperate with Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who has offered Ford a chance to appear before the committee, or speak privately with committee members and lawyers in a private setting.
“Given the gravity of this appointment and this accusation, I would hope that all senators, regardless of party, will work with Chairman Grassley in good faith,” Heller said.
Ford, through her lawyer, has asked for an FBI investigation.