Stabenow, Peters oppose Trump's high court nominee Kavanaugh
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan announced Friday their opposition to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, saying Brett Kavanaugh's judicial record clearly shows that he would limit access to health care and curtail environmental protections.
Stabenow, who is up for re-election to a fourth term, issued a statement expressing "deep concern" that Kavanaugh — a federal appellate judge — "believes the president is above the law." It was a reference to his 2011 dissent in a case challenging the U.S. health care law in which Kavanaugh suggested that a president could decline to enforce a statute regulating private individuals if the president deems it unconstitutional, even if a court determines it to be constitutional.
"Our founders created our democracy with three branches of government, not one. They created checks and balances so that it would be clear that no one is above the law," Stabenow said, adding that "it is in the best interests of the people of Michigan for me to oppose the nomination" of Kavanagh.
The two Republicans running to face her in November, John James and Sandy Pensler, have backed Trump's pick.
James said Stabenow's stance was not a surprise.
"Judge Kavanaugh is widely respected among his peers in the legal community, and Sen. Stabenow's divisive language is yet another example of putting the interests of her party bosses and liberal donors over the interests of Michiganders, who voted for President Trump," he said in a statement.
Pensler accused Stabenow of "double talk."
"Judge Kavanaugh will make a great justice who allows the people rather than judges to determine law," he said in a statement.
Stabenow and Peters, a freshman senator, also opposed Trump's last nominee for the high court, Neil Gorsuch.
They expressed concerns that Kavanaugh would favor wealthy "special interests" over people, curtail environmental regulations, roll back women's access to health care and make it harder to obtain affordable health insurance, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Peters also said Kavanagh favored striking down net neutrality rules and the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was established in 2010 to protect Americans against abusive financial products and services.
"I'm deeply troubled by his efforts to undermine workers' rights and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will only further stack the deck against hardworking middle-class families who are struggling to make ends meet," Peters said in a statement.
Republicans, who have a 51-49 edge in the Senate, want to have Kavanaugh confirmed by the start of the court's session in October and before the midterm election.
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