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Trump calls on Kyl to be at the side of Supreme Court nominee for hearings

Posted by   /  July 10, 2018  /  No Comments

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Forrmer Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, a Republican, has been tapped by the White House to help shepherd the nomination of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee through the Senate. /Photo by Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons.

 

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod said she did not have a litmus test for the next Supreme Court justice, but is looking for a ‘course correction’

By Sarabeth Henne | Cronkite News

The White House said Monday that former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl had been tapped to act as a “sherpa” to help guide the Supreme Court nomination of U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh through the Senate.

Kavanaugh, currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was nominated Monday night by President Donald Trump to fill the seat being vacated by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

But Kavanaugh, a one-time clerk for Kennedy and a former attorney in the George W. Bush White House, is expected to face a contentious confirmation process.

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That’s where Kyl comes in. The choice of the three-term GOP senator, who last year helped see the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions through the Senate, was called a good move by political watchers from both sides of the aisle in Arizona, who pointed to Kyl’s familiarity with the process and his connections in the Senate.

Advocates on range of issues anxious over Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

“Jon Kyl is the perfect choice to lead the new Supreme Court nominee through the Senate process,” Grant Woods, a Democrat who served as Arizona’s attorney general from 1991 to 1999, said in an email.

“He is respected by members on both sides of the aisle and understands both the Court (having previously argued there) and the Senate (having served there) extremely well,” Woods said.

President Donald Trump’s nomination of U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to a vacancy on the Supreme Court could affect court rulings for decades, but for pro-life protesters outside the White House only one issue mattered./Photo by Sarabeth Henne/Cronkite News

 

Mike Noble, a Republican pollster in Arizona, said Kyl “just has an impeccable record.”

“Him serving as senator as long as he had … He’s very principled. You don’t have to worry about what side he’s on or if he’s going to change his mind,” Noble said.

Published reports said White House spokesman Raj Shah made the announcement Monday. Calls seeking comment from Covington and Burling, the Washington law firm where Kyl currently works, were directed to the White House, which did not immediately respond to a request Monday.

Kyl served four terms in the House, from 1986-1994, before being elected to the first of three terms in the Senate. During his 18 years in that body, he rose to become the No. 2 Republican and served on the Judiciary Committee, which considered the nominations of four current Supreme Court justices while he was there, including Chief Justice John Roberts.

In addition to Roberts, who was approved by the full Senate on a 95-3 vote, Kyl voted on the nominations of justices Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, whose nominations were decided along more partisan lines.

Kyl voted for Roberts and Alito, who were nominated by President George W. Bush, and against President Barack Obama’s nominees, Kagan and Sotomayor.

He left the Senate in 2013, and was succeeded by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona.

In addition to working at Covington and Burling since then, Kyl has held a number of positions at Arizona State University, including a distinguished fellow in public service in ASU’s College of Public Programs and an O’Connor Distinguished Scholar of Law and Public Service in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“When it comes to certain folks, you typically have an opinion – good, bad, indifferent – especially in this polarized state of politics we’ve seen,” Noble said. “However, someone like Jon Kyl, he’s a breath of fresh air.”

Even before President Donald Trump nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court nominee Monday night, advocates for a range of issues were bracing for what might come next.

They knew they were likely to get a conservative jurist – the president had promised as much – but were trying to figure out just what that might mean for them, how the next justice will affect the court and whether the nomination can be blocked.

“What we’re hoping for is the commonsense folks in Congress that actually represent their constituents” can block a nominee who is out of the mainstream, said Tayler Tucker, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Arizona.

Abortion is expected to be a key point in the nomination battle, with Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh giving the court a solid 5-4 conservative majority that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognized women’s privacy and reproductive rights.

President Donald Trump’s nomination of U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to a vacancy on the Supreme Court could affect court rulings for decades, but for pro-life protesters outside the White House only one issue mattered./Photo by Sarabeth Henne/Cronkite News

 

Most Democrats would oppose a justice who promised to overturn Roe, and some Republicans have expressed concern at the possibility. With just 51 Republicans in the Senate and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, sidelined by cancer, the administration cannot afford to lose many votes.

But abortion is just one high-profile issue for a court that this year alone dealt with voting rights, partisan redistricting, gay rights and the president’s so-called “travel ban.”

The court has already identified 38 cases for its next term, which begins in October. They range from cases on tribal sovereignty to the death penalty, from whether a mobile home is a house for purposes of a burglary charge to whether Apple can be sued by iPhone buyers for antitrust damages.

One of the first cases the court is scheduled to hear this fall is an age discrimination suit from Arizona that was filed by firefighters against the Mount Lemmon Fire District.

But for Randall Terry, there is only one issue that matters with this nomination – overturning Roe v. Wade.

Terry, a longtime pro-life activist, led a handful of protesters outside the White House on Monday, who said they were there to call for the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

“Roe versus Wade was the worst decision to ever curse this country,” Terry shouted in front of a crowd. “Abortion is a crime against God and man…. Roe versus Wade must be overturned.”

Terry, the founder and president of the Society for Truth and Justice, led the crowd in shouts of, “Abortion is murder! Overturn Roe!” and said that any court nominee who cannot commit to overturning the case “is not fit to serve on the bench.”

That’s what Tucker is worried about, fearing the court will chip away at Roe, if not reverse it outright after 45 years.

“We’re standing on the shoulders of giants … and I was afforded these liberties because someone else fought like hell for them,” Tucker said. “I think a lot of people in our generation only assumed it would move forward.

“We hope that our Senate will reject any nominee that does not pass that litmus test of not wanting to uphold Roe v. Wade,” she said.

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod said she did not have a litmus test for the next Supreme Court justice, but is looking for a “course correction” and a justice committed to interpreting the Constitution.

“For too long, the U.S. Supreme Court has been a policymaking body. That’s not the purpose of the Supreme Court, nor is it the intent of our founders,” Herrod said.

“My hope is that the new justice will be a justice who looks to the text of the constitution and rule accordingly.”

 

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