WEST PALM BEACH —
Moments after federal judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court Saturday afternoon, Florida politicians were quick to react.
Congresswoman Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, described Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a “sad, dark day for our nation.” Congressman Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, criticized President Donald Trump and Republicans in the Senate for what he described as forcing through a Supreme Court nominee with extreme views who lacks the temperament to serve on the high court.
Deutch, Florida’s lone Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, stopped short of saying the House would reopen an investigation into Kavanaugh if Democrats regain control of the House in November’s midterm elections.
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“If we take back the House, the judiciary committee that I serve on is going to be busy doing all of things we should have been doing for the past two years, which is to provide oversight of this administration,” he said.
Both of Florida’s candidates for governor, Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis weighed in on the confirmation as both made stops today in Palm Beach County.
Gillum, who attended the annual Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s Truman Kennedy Johnson Gala Saturday night as did Deutsch, said he did not know how the Supreme Court controversy might affect turnout in next month’s general elections. Gillum said he was disappointed to see the partisan nature of the process.
“His display before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, his temperament in my opinion is one that is unfitting of the highest court in the land,” Gillum said of Kavanaugh.
DeSantis, speaking to supporters during a campaign rally at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach Saturday afternoon, praised Republicans in the Senate for standing up to what he described as a “vicious smear campaign” against Kavanaugh.
“If you look at all those Republicans, except for one in Senate, they were willing to stand up to this vicious smear campaign that was engaged in by people like Diane Feinstein and Richard Blumenthal,” DeSantis said. “These people really debased the Senate. What they did was a disgrace.”
DeSantis’ speech drew some of its loudest applause as he announced Kavanaugh’s confirmation only minutes after taking the stage.
“It’s going to make a big difference in our country nationally and for me as governor,” said DeSantis, who also made Saturday stops in Naples, Ft. Myers and Sarasota.
Kavanaugh, who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct during a contentious, weeks-long confirmation battle, was confirmed around 4 p.m. by the Senate in a 50-48 vote and then sworn in as a justice hours later.
Frankel said in an official statement released Saturday afternoon that the confirmation sends the wrong message to survivors of sexual violence, referencing last week’s testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who told the Senate’s Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were high school students.
An FBI investigation determined that there was no corroborating evidence. Today, Frankel called the FBI’s investigation “phony.”
“This sends a horrible message to survivors of sexual violence that their experiences and voices don’t matter,” she stated. “But that’s not all. Republicans have confirmed someone who proved himself unfit for the highest court in the land by raging partisan conspiratorial accusations at Democrats during his hearing and even threatening payback.”