WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Saturday voted to confirm President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Cruz was in the majority and Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48, with the vote splitting almost entirely along party lines.
Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Cruz’s opponent in this November’s U.S. Senate race, said he would have voted “no” on Kavanaugh.
Here are the views of Cruz and O’Rourke on the Kavanaugh nomination.
Today, the Senate voted on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. If I were in the Senate, I would have voted no.
The events of the past two weeks — including Dr. Ford’s courageous, powerful, and credible testimony and Judge Kavanaugh’s temperament in his response — have only added to my concern that he does not meet the bar to serve on the Supreme Court.
I am disappointed that he was confirmed. I know that today’s news and the headlines we’ve seen over the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for many Texans and especially painful for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment — so many of whom bravely spoke out, shared their stories, and continue to lead the way. The news has also been hard on those who might feel let down after making their voices heard by calling their senators, organizing with one another, uniting for what we believe in. Today, we are going to come together for one another.
But tonight and tomorrow and in the days that follow, I want you to know that we are going to meet this disappointment weighing on many of us with the power of people who want to make sure that our government represents all of us. In a democracy, the government is the people and the people are the government. If the government does not represent the will of the people, we will change the makeup of the government.
We will ensure that the senators voting on lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court fight for people, for our rights, for our future. That they put country over party. That they bring a sense of civility and decency to what is supposed to be the greatest deliberative body in the world.
Together — not as Democrats or Republicans but as Texans and Americans — we will ensure that the next nominee to be confirmed to the Supreme Court represents all of our interests.
We will do it because in a state that is last in voter turnout — not by accident but by design — we understand the importance of voting rights.
We will do it because in a state that is the epicenter for the maternal mortality crisis — three times as deadly for African American women — we understand that Roe vs. Wade is the decided law of the land and that women should be able to make their own decisions about their own bodies, and have access to the healthcare that will save their lives.
We will do it because in a state where you can be fired for being gay and where the justice system does not serve everyone, we understand the importance of civil rights and equal justice under law.
And we will do it because we understand the need to put people over PACs, people over corporations, and people over special interests.
Thank you for staying strong for one another, for Texas, and for this country. We will not let one another down.
Here are Senator Cruz’s remarks on the Senate floor:
“Mr. President, I rise today to discuss the impending confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It now appears that tomorrow, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will become Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court.
“It’s worth pausing for a moment to reflect why that is of such great consequence for our country. In recent decades, the courts have seized more and more policy-making authority. Have intruded into the authority of the democratically elected legislature. Has taken policy issue after policy issue from the hands of the American people and usurped it instead to the hands of five unelected judges.
“Given those stakes, the 2016 election in a very real sense was waged over what direction the Supreme Court would go. And there was a markedly different vision, a markedly different promise that was made by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump promised to nominate constitutionalists who would defend the Constitution, who would defend the Bill of Rights.
“Mr. President, that’s what the people of Texas want. I believe that’s what the American people want. Judges who will follow the law, who will be faithful to the Constitution, who will uphold our fundamental liberties. Free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, the fundamental liberties protected of every American in the United States Constitution.
“The stakes here are high, particularly with this seat, the seat that was held by Justice Kennedy, a justice who has been the swing vote for three decades now.
“Even though the stakes are high, Mr. President, what we have witnessed the last several weeks is unprecedented in the annals of confirmation battles. We saw initially a confirmation hearing that was relatively straightforward. It was marred by protests coordinated with Democratic senators, according to media reports.
“On the first day of the hearing 70 individuals were arrested for protesting and disrupting the hearings. But at the end of that opening week of hearings, not a single senator on the committee had made the argument that [Judge] Kavanaugh was not qualified to be a justice. By any measure, he’s one of the most respected appellate judges in the country. Nor did any of the senators on the Judiciary Committee make any meaningful argument that raised serious concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s jurisprudence. He’s been a Court of Appeals judge for over a decade.
“It appeared at that point that the confirmation was a foregone conclusion and that indeed Judge Kavanaugh was likely to get a substantial bipartisan confirmation.
“Then on the eve of the vote, it was leaked in the press that there were allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. Those allegations, sadly, had been in the possession of the ranking Democratic member of the committee since July 30. In the form of a written letter that had been submitted by Dr. Ford on July 30 detailing the allegations. The allegations were serious. The allegations deserved to be treated with respect. And Dr. Ford in that letter requested to stay confidential. She did not want her name thrust in the national news.
“Now the Judiciary Committee has a process for handling allegations. As nominations go forward there are all sorts of allegations that are raised. And the process, the ordinary process, would be for the ranking member to refer that letter to the full committee, to the chairman. Refer it to the FBI for an investigation. And then the committee has a standing process to engage in a confidential hearing. A closed hearing where the allegations raised by Dr. Ford could have been considered, without dragging her name into the public.
“That would have been the right way to do that. That would have been the Senate operating the way we are supposed to operate. But sadly it did not break that way. Instead it appears the Democratic members of Congress made the decision to leak the letter to the press, and to drag Dr. Ford unwillingly into the public square. That did enormous damage to Dr. Ford and her family. And it did enormous damage to Judge Kavanaugh and his family.
“When that happened the Judiciary Committee – the Republican members of the committee met. And I urged my colleagues once these allegations were made public that there needed to be a public hearing and that Dr. Ford deserved a full and fair opportunity to tell her story. And that she needed to be treated with respect. And that, I’m glad to say is exactly what happened.
“I also believed Judge Kavanaugh deserved a full and fair opportunity to defend himself. And that he too should be treated with respect. That sadly is not what happened.
“The hearing we had last week featured one Democratic member of the committee after another dragging Judge Kavanaugh and his family through the mud. Raising smear after smear after smear – not just the allegations that Dr. Ford had raised but other more far-fetched, in some cases absurd allegations that apparently the threshold for dragging a man’s character and besmirching his family, the threshold in Washington is nonexistent.
“That Thursday hearing we heard powerful testimony from two witnesses, Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. It was clear that both were hurting. It was clear that both had been done enormous damage by the politicized way in which Democratic members of this body launched these allegations in the media. But even though we were seeing political games that didn’t relieve the members of this body from the solemn obligation we have to advise and consent. The obligation we have to have a fair process. To consider the allegations and to make the best judgment we can. And after two witnesses presenting powerful testimony, it became clear their testimony was directly contradictory. And so we were called to assess the evidence before us.
“Now, typically in a court of law when you have conflicting testimony the way a court of law will assess that is to look to other corroborating evidence. What other evidence is there that indicates whether particular allegations are true or not. In this instance, Dr. Ford had identified three fact witnesses. Three named fact witnesses, all of whom gave statements to the Judiciary Committee. Under penalty of perjury all three of the named fact witnesses, not only did they not corroborate the allegations but they affirmatively refuted the allegations. And they did so on penalty of perjury. Meaning if they were lying they could face up to five years in prison.
“Now for me the fact that all of the corroborating evidence contradicted the allegations, and the fact that Judge Kavanaugh has a many decade long record as a distinguished public servant with no allegations whatsoever prior to the eleventh hour political allegations that were launched by the Democrats. The balance of that, I believe leads a fair decision maker to make the decision that I have made, and this body is preparing to make, which is to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
“Even so, at the insistence of a number of senators, the Judiciary Committee went further. It asked last week for the FBI to conduct supplemental background investigations. Investigating these allegations, the instructions to the FBI were to investigate all current credible allegations. The FBI went and did ten interviews. I flew back to DC from Texas last night. At ten o’clock last night I came to the Capitol in a classified setting and read all ten of those 302’s, the reports that the FBI agents prepare coming out of those interviews. Having read every single one of those reports, not one of them provides additional corroborating evidence for Dr. Ford’s allegations.
“And indeed, the key fact witnesses who had previously given statements unsurprisingly their statements are very much the same. They’re more detailed. They’re more extensive because the FBI agents questioned them at greater length. But at the end of the day, all three fact witnesses still continue to refute the allegations. That means that this body, if we are to be fair and impartial, I believe should confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
“Now that does not mean, as some have seen in this deeply politicized time in our country that allegations of sexual assault should not be taken seriously. To the contrary, the fact that we had an extensive public hearing to hear those allegations, to treat Dr. Ford with the utmost respect. That the FBI investigated those allegations, sought out the fact witnesses, looked for corroborating evidence, all of that demonstrates the seriousness with which those charges should be taken.
“Sexual assault is a growing problem in our nation. It is a problem pervasive in our nation. The Me Too movement we have seen powerful men in Hollywood, we have seen powerful men in journalism, we’ve seen powerful men in politics, we’ve seen powerful men in business abusing their position of powers and harassing or assaulting women. That is unacceptable. I am glad to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in passing legislation through this body ensuring that there are tough standards and that we end the process of secret taxpayer settlements if a member of Congress is guilty of harassment or assault. We should have no tolerance for that sort of misconduct.
“So anyone at home that is watching these proceedings, it would be a mistake to take the politicized charge of Democrats who wanted to defeat Judge Kavanaugh before these charges came along. Virtually every Democrat who is voting no, was voting no before any allegation had been made. Indeed, a great number of the Democratic Senators announced their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh within minutes or hours of his being named. Every Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee announced their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh before the opening minutes of the confirmation hearing before hearing a word that Judge Kavanaugh had to say.
“So the circus we saw last week was a whole lot of political theater. It featured some Democratic Senators, I believe, vying for the 2020 presidential nomination and seeing who could be more extreme, put on a bigger spectacle.
“But the American people expect this body to be fair. The American people expect this body to respect the law and the rule of law. We’ve been through a process that I believe has been fair, has heard out these claims. And it is my hope that coming out of this, the anger and rage that has been stoked needs to dissipate. It is my hope that members on both sides of this aisle, and more importantly Americans on both sides of the political aisle across the country can remember who we are. Can remember how to disagree. To disagree passionately.
“We can have passionate arguments about whether taxes should be higher or lower. We can have passionate arguments about immigration policy or any other policy matter. But I hope that we can remember to disagree without being disagreeable. To disagree while being civil. To disagree while respecting each other — while respecting each other’s humanity.
“It would have been wrong to vilify and demonize Dr. Ford and I’m glad the Judiciary Committee did not go down that road. But it is equally wrong for Democratic Senators to demonize and vilify Judge Kavanaugh based on a lone accusation without corroborating evidence. That’s not fair. That’s not right. It’s empty politics.
“And if we continue down this politics of personal destruction, we’re going to find fewer and fewer people willing to step forward and serve. Fewer and fewer people to serve on the federal judiciary, willing to serve in the Cabinet.
“There was a time when this body was called ‘the world’s greatest deliberative body’. That’s been a long time ago. But I do think it’s possible for us to get back to that. For us to keep disagreements focused on substance and issues and remember the fundamental humanity, even of those who disagree with us.
“The American people, and certainly the people of Texas, I think a great many were horrified by what they saw last week. Some in the media have characterized that women should necessarily oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination because they are women. I don’t think that’s right. That is certainly not true from the women I’ve heard from in the state of Texas. Because women, like men, want the Constitution followed faithfully, want the Bill of Rights protected, want our fundamental liberties upheld. And women, like men, want a system of rule of law and presumption of innocence that is fair. Yes, if there is serious, credible evidence of sexual assault it should be dealt with seriously. But women and men are mothers and fathers, are husbands and wives, are sons and daughters and brothers and sisters.
“Every parent of sons should want a system where due process is protected and one lone and uncorroborated allegation is not enough to end the career and reputation of your son. And every parent of daughters — and I am the parent of two daughters — should want a regime where your daughters are protected and their lives can’t be ruined with an uncorroborated allegation either, but if God forbid they face assault or harassment there is a system of accountability that the wrongdoers are held accountable.
“We want a fair system. We want a just system. We want a system that recognizes the rule of law. There are many countries that are rule by mob, rule by accusation, rule by insinuation, but we need a process. In this case, we have gone through a process that was designed to be fair.
“And given the evidence, the right decision I believe is the decision this body will make tomorrow to confirm Judge Kavanaugh as Justice Kavanaugh, the newest associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.”