(October 7, 2018 / JNS) Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th justice on the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday, just hours after a contentious 50-48 Senate vote confirming Kavanaugh’s appointment to the nation’s highest court. The vote ended weeks of partisan division over uncorroborated sexual-abuse allegations against the now-former D.C. Circuit Court judge.
As expected, American Jewish organizations across the ideological spectrum expressed mixed reactions to Kavanaugh’s confirmation as Supreme Court Justice.
“The process of confirming Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was difficult and contentious—and clear evidence of the tremendous importance of the upcoming midterm elections,” said Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks in a statement. “Without a Republican majority in the Senate, Judge Kavanaugh could well be the last Trump nominee for any post to be confirmed.”
The Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty (JCRL) similarly applauded the confirmation.
“We hope that he will faithfully interpret the free exercise and establishment clause and statutes like RFRA in order to preserve America’s admirable history of protecting religious liberty,” JCRL general counsel Howard Slugh told JNS.
However, groups like National Council of Jewish Women condemned the new Supreme Court justice, saying in a statement it is a “disgraceful blow to women and to justice itself.”
“Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation deals a devastating blow to the confirmation process, and to women and all survivors of sexual assault,” said NCJW CEO Nancy Kaufman. “The expectation that the Supreme Court will deal fairly and dispassionately in the foreseeable future regarding the cases brought before it, has been seriously compromised.”
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action echoed Kaufman’s sentiments.
“Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a fundamental threat to our values and to the rights of women, immigrants, workers, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and other vulnerable communities,” said the group’s CEO Stosh Cotler. “We express anger and outrage in solidarity with all who recognize the grave harm the Senate has caused today and vow to redouble our efforts to hold all of Kavanaugh and Trump’s enablers accountable.”
Kavanaugh’s fate was all but sealed after Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a deciding vote, announced on Friday that she would vote to confirm him.
Attorney Norm Eisen, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, predicted Kavanaugh’s confirmation and told JNS that now that the opposition battle is over, it’s time to ensure Kavanaugh is held accountable.
“I was not surprised, since I had been on the record predicting Senator Collins would support the nominee,” said Eisen. “But I was disappointed because of the many flaws in the process here: the hundreds of thousands of the nominee’s documents that were withheld, the failure to hold him accountable for his many facially implausible statements in the hearings, and the inadequate FBI investigation of the allegations against him.”
He added, “Now the fight moves to making sure [Kavanaugh] recuses appropriately where he has conflicts.”
Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, on the other hand, applauded Collins.
“So proud of my friend and former colleague, Senator Susan Collins,” the now-RJC chairman posted on Twitter. “Celebrating the presumption of innocence. Upholding notions of fairness. Using common sense. And I am sure voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Bravo.”
Groups that reacted to Kavanaugh’s initial nomination even before the allegations were first raised, such as the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee, did not respond to JNS requests for comment on Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation.