Retired Justice John Paul Stevens said on Thursday he believed that Judge Brett Kavanaugh should not serve on the Supreme Court following his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
Stevens, a lifelong Republican who stepped down from the high court in 2010, said during an event to retirees in Boca Raton, Fla., that Kavanaugh’s temperament during the hearing into allegations of sexual misconduct was not suited for the position.
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“I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind,” Stevens said, according to The Palm Beach Post.
Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by professor Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to rape her when they were both in high school in the early 1980s. Deborah Ramirez also said she was assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were freshmen at Yale. The judge denies all allegations.
Ford gave emotional testimony to the Judiciary Committee last Thursday and said she was “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh attacked her.
After her appearance, Kavanaugh opened his testimony with an emphatic denial of the allegations, but also said the process was a ploy by Democrats and “the Clintons” to make sure he did not get confirmed. Kavanaugh — a former employee in the George W. Bush administration who previously worked with independent counsel Ken Starr on the investigation into President Bill Clinton — has been criticized for the partisan nature of his opening statements, in addition to his aggressive responses to Democratic lawmakers.
Stevens had praised Kavanaugh and one of his rulings in his 2014 book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.” He said at the time that he thought Kavanaugh “had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected.”
“I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability,” Stevens said on Thursday, referring to Kavanaugh’s temperament.
Kavanaugh currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Stevens, 98, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford, said he believed that lawmakers should take into account the criticism of Kavanaugh’s testimony.
“I think there’s merit to that criticism,” Stevens said, “and I think the senators should really pay attention that.”