President Donald Trump decided on federal appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh for his second nominee to the Supreme Court, setting up a ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats as he seeks to shift the nation's highest court further to the right.
Trump chose Kavanaugh, a Yale Law School graduate, to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Connecticut’s Democratic leaders swiftly condemned the pick, criticizing his stance on everything from guns to reproductive rights to civil rights protections.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a statement saying he will vote no on the nomination.
"The Trump litmus test – stated repeatedly and clearly – demands a commitment to overturn Roe v. Wade and eviscerate key healthcare rights including protections for Americans who suffer from preexisting conditions. Also on the chopping block are LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and many civil rights. No other president has set such a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees. No other president has allowed himself to be a puppet of extreme right-wing outside organizations, or outsourced the selection to such fringe groups as the Federalist Society," the statement read in part.
"Judge Kavanaugh is way out of step with Connecticut on every issue that matters to families in our state. He wants to limit women’s access to contraception. He will vote to criminalize abortion. He wants to overturn Connecticut's common sense gun laws. He would likely overturn protections for the thousands of people in our state who have preexisting conditions. On issue after issue, Judge Kavanaugh is a dream for the far right, and a nightmare for hard-working families in Connecticut. President Trump outsourced the biggest decision of his administration to the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, two political groups that gave him a list of acceptable nominees to the anti-choice, pro-corporate right," Murphy wrote in a statement.
Gov. Dannel Malloy called the choice "disastrous" and warned that "extreme, right-wing Republicans controlling all levers of power in Washington, we face an uphill battle."
"It is not hyperbole to say that everything from marriage equality, to civil rights protections, to workers’ rights, to patient protections barring discrimination for preexisting conditions, to our already woefully inadequate gun safety laws would be in peril if President Trump’s nominee is confirmed. Most alarming however is Judge Kavanaugh’s avowed hostility to Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights. The purportedly pro-choice Republican senators should understand that a vote for Judge Kavanaugh is a vote to repeal Roe v. Wade. It’s that simple," Malloy wrote in a statement.
Other top contenders had included federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman.
More to come.