Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens questioned Thursday whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should sit on the Supreme Court, saying Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week disqualifies him.
Stevens, nominated by President Gerald Ford, in the past believed that Kavanaugh was qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court. However, he told an audience in Boca Raton, Fla., that he altered his views in the wake of last week’s hearing, during which Kavanaugh was questioned about an allegation of sexual assault lodged against him by Christine Blasey Ford.
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“I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability. … I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind,” Stevens said, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Following Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Democrats have criticized the Supreme Court nominee for the political nature of his comments and questioned his temperament.
During his opening statement to the committee, Kavanaugh accused Senate Democrats of leading “a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election.”
Referencing the opinions of commentators, Stevens said there’s “merit to that criticism.”
“And I think the senators should really pay attention to that,” he continued, the Palm Beach Post reported.
[More: More than 650 law professors sign letter stating Kavanaugh lacks ‘judicial temperament,’ should not be confirmed]
Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. While he initially appeared to be cruising toward confirmation, Ford’s allegation of sexual assault roiled his confirmation battle.
After Ford spoke publicly about the allegation with the Washington Post last month, two other women accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
Kavanaugh, however, has categorically denied the allegations, which date back to the early 1980s.
Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing, the FBI launched a supplemental background investigation into Kavanaugh.
The FBI sent the White House its report early Thursday morning, and it was subsequently sent to the Senate, where senators have been reading the investigation.
Senate Republicans said the report did not find corroboration of Ford’s claims and didn’t present any new information to lawmakers.
But Senate Democrats argued the investigation was incomplete and raised more questions.
Stevens served on the Supreme Court for nearly 35 years. He retired in 2010 and was replaced by Justice Elena Kagan.