Florida reacts to Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

As you might expect, reaction falls along party lines. Republicans are pleased. Democrats express skepticism.
President Trump with Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his nominee for the Supreme Court, in the White House residence on Monday. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Trump with Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his nominee for the Supreme Court, in the White House residence on Monday. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Published July 10, 2018|Updated July 10, 2018

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami: "Brett Kavanaugh is a qualified, mainstream jurist who possesses the right temperament and experience for the position, and I'm pleased to see his nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. My decision on whether to ultimately support Kavanaugh's nomination will be based on his commitment to original intent, judicial restraint, and the understanding that the Supreme Court is a 'trier of law' appellate court and not a 'trier of fact' trial court. This is critically important because too many in the federal judicial system today believe it is appropriate for judges to craft new policies and rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as written. Regrettably, Senate Democrats made up their minds to oppose this nomination long before tonight's announcement. I would remind them that just over a year-and-a-half ago the American people elected the president and a Republican-controlled Senate. Nevertheless, I am hopeful for a fair and thorough confirmation process as the Senate carefully examines and deliberates Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court."

Gov. Rick Scott, on Twitter: "I am glad President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and look forward to learning more about his record. Even though Bill Nelson pledged last week he would vote against the nominee without knowing who it was, he needs to do his job and give him a fair hearing. Unlike Nelson, I actually waited on commenting on the nominee until there was one."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, who has already said he expects to vote against the nominee: "I look forward to meeting with the president's nominee in the coming weeks to discuss his views on several important issues such as protecting women's rights, guaranteeing access to health care for those with pre-existing conditions and protecting the right to vote, just to name a few. I will make my decision after that."

Rep. Ron DeSantis, Republican candidate for governor, on Twitter: "With nomination of Kavanaugh, it's clear @POTUS has selected someone who understands Constitution & can apply constitutional principles in persuasive way." DeSantis then added a caveat: "Whether Kavanaugh will be a fearless defender of Constitution in mold of Justice (Clarence) Thomas remains to be seen. Let's hope so!"

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Republican candidate for governor, on Twitter: :History in the making. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an outstanding #SCOTUSpick by President @realDonaldTrump who will defend the Constitution as written."

Gwen Graham, Democratic candidate for governor: "Donald Trump has nominated another Supreme Court justice who does not believe women have the right to make our own health care decisions. If Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to the court, Roe v. Wade is gravely at risk of being overturned. Florida: this is not a drill. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis are elected governor, women will lose our rights to make our own health care decisions. They would outlaw abortion within a year and appoint judges who will decimate Florida's constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy. As governor, I will veto any legislation that limits a woman's right to choose and I will appoint state Supreme Court Justices who will uphold our right to make our own health care decisions."

Chris King, Democratic candidate for governor: "In Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has picked a nominee who threatens to roll back the clock on America — and with few allies in Washington, this fight now falls to the states. We've got to elect bold, progressive leaders who will stand up to the political establishment and fight for civil rights, workers' rights and women's healthcare — no matter what Donald Trump and his nominee have to say about it."

Andrew Gillum, Democratic candidate for governor: "With his pick of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has done everything in his power to push the Supreme Court into the world of ultra-conservatism. A woman's right to make her own health care decisions is at risk. Voting rights are at risk. Collective bargaining is at risk. Here in Florida, Rick Scott will try to stack our Supreme Court in his final hours in office. We must hold the line on the three impending Florida Supreme Court vacancies, and when I am Governor-Elect, my Administration will use every tool available to ensure Floridians have their voices heard in their justice system."

Philip Levine, Democratic candidate for governor: "It's more imperative than ever that reasonable Republicans join Democrats to complete a thorough vetting. Too much legal precedent is at stake — from preserving Roe v. Wade to LGBT protections — we refuse to turn the clock back on the protections enshrined by a balanced court!"

Jeff Greene, Democratic candidate for governor, on Facebook: ‪"Kavanaugh doesn't believe a sitting president can be indicted — has ruled against abortion rights — and has the potential to swing our country back into the dark ages. This isn't just a threat to our values and ideals, but to equality & freedom. When I am Governor, I vow to fight back."

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach: "I commend President Trump for his selection of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. He is an excellent jurist, with a deep and abiding reverence for the Constitution. I have no doubt that, when confirmed, Justice Kavanaugh will serve America's highest court with honor and integrity. I also commend President Trump for maintaining the same transparent selection process that he used when he appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Like Justice Gorsuch, Judge Kavanaugh was on President Trump's list of potential candidates. Making this list available offered the American public great transparency, and an opportunity to learn about each potential candidate. With this nomination, President Trump has helped shape the future of jurisprudence in America for generations to come, by ensuring that the Supreme Court will faithfully uphold the Constitution as written. This is a good day for Judge Kavanaugh, for the rule of law, and for the United States of America."

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton: "With his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump is attempting to advance a radical ideological shift of the Supreme Court that will threaten settled fundamental rights and challenge the right of every American to access affordable, high-quality health care. We know that the President has targeted the Affordable Care Act. He ordered his Justice Department to stop defending the Affordable Care Act. He ordered Republicans in Congress to do everything they could to weaken the law and drive up prices. And now he wants to use the third branch of government to finish the job. We know Judge Kavanaugh's record. If you have a pre-existing condition and benefit from those protections, your coverage is now at risk. Americans with disabilities, nursing mothers, and others who are covered by the ACA's basic protections are now at a greater risk of discrimination, skyrocketing costs, and loss of coverage. There is no longer a theoretical threat to Roe v. Wade. With this nominee, President Trump fulfilled his campaign promise of nominating justices who are hostile to women's reproductive rights. If confirmed, the conservative wing of the court — composed of five men — will be poised to strip women of the freedom to make their own health choices and control their own futures. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Supreme Court could so severely weaken women's right to privacy that even access to basic contraception would be at stake. President Trump's decision to nominate Judge Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court means that important precedents that have moved America forward toward a more equal and just society could be shredded. The Senate now has the responsibility to protect Americans from an ideologically-driven nominee whose confirmation would create a Supreme Court bent on setting America decades back in time."

Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Panama City: "In announcing Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination for the Supreme Court, President Trump has taken another tangible step to secure the Constitution and ensure that the people of the United States remain preeminent, not the government. This is a victory for everyone who cherishes our nation's conservative values. I urge the Senate to act quickly and confirm Judge Kavanaugh."

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: "The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is President Trump's latest shameful effort to further roll back the progress we have made on voting rights, workers' rights, women's rights, civil rights, clean air and water, gun control, healthcare, and so much more. We cannot take nominations to the Supreme Court lightly. We need a justice who will be truly independent and not bound by political promises and litmus tests. Two years ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intentionally left a vacancy on the Supreme Court for more than ten months in order to win a political victory. This unprecedented and disgraceful obstruction, followed by Senator McConnell's unilateral change in Senate procedure to force through the nomination of Justice Gorsuch, called into question the Senate's ability to effectively carry out its Constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the Executive Branch's judicial nominees. I am particularly alarmed by President Trump's support for overturning Roe v. Wade and eroding women's access to healthcare. It has been 45 years since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe, yet the President has signaled that he will stop at nothing to turn back the clock on reproductive freedoms, even going so far as to say that women receiving abortions should be 'punished' regardless of the circumstance. A woman has the right to make her own decisions about her body – end of story. Judge Kavanaugh's support for Congressional Republicans' obsession with cutting off access to women's health care is insulting, dangerous, and intrinsically disqualifying."

Americans for Prosperity, the activist organization started by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, sent out a statement promising to commit "seven figures" to ads, phone banks, events and mailers to raise public support for Kavanaugh. In a statement sent out Monday night, the group also called out Sen. Bill Nelson for saying it was likely he wouldn't support Trump's nominee before the name was announced, saying Nelson came to "a pre-determined conclusion based on D.C. politics" and "Floridians deserve senators with objectivity during this process."

PolitiFact: Meet President Trump's Supreme Court nominee