CINCINNATI -- Regardless of who President Donald Trump nominated to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy's Supreme Court seat Monday night, the Senate confirmation process was likely to be contentious. Now that Trump has identified his pick as Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a George W. Bush appointee with a notably more conservative record than Kennedy, the gates are open and the statements are rolling in.
Many Senate Democrats, galvanized by recent controversies over Trump administration's immigration policy and smarting over the snub given to Obama nominee Merrick Garland, feel political incentive to oppose Kavanaugh with the same vociferousness their Republican colleagues opposed Garland in 2016.
Although Kavanaugh had previously pledged to "follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully," some liberal-aligned groups such as Planned Parenthood have framed the construction of a conservative-leaning court as a blow against the legislation that made abortion legal across the United States.
Kavanaugh is a favorite, meanwhile, among Washington's Republican legal establishment. The president's prime-time televised announcement of Kavanaugh's nomination included praise for his "clear and effective writing style" and opined he was "universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time."
Kavanaugh's recent opinions on issues including abortion, health care and gun ownershp align closely with those of the broader Republican party, although the Associated Press reported some had expressed concerns he was not conservative enough.
What did your representatives say? Here are the statements we've received from all six senators representing the Tri-State region. All pledged to consider Kavanaugh's nomination thoroughly and fairly, but the tone of their statements -- and the effusiveness of their praise -- varied.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D)
"I'm already very troubled by the Supreme Court's recent decisions stripping rights from Ohioans, and I have serious concerns about some of Judge Kavanaugh's rulings against women's rights and consumer rights. I plan to review Judge Kavanaugh's record thoroughly and ask him tough questions face-to-face before I make my decision. I will not support any Justice who would take rights away from Ohioans."\
Sen. Rob Portman (R)
"I look forward to considering the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to serve as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The job of a Supreme Court justice is to fairly and impartially apply the law and to protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not to advance public policy goals by legislating from the bench. Judge Kavanaugh has an impressive background. He is highly regarded as a fair-minded and independent judge and is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. I look forward to meeting with him in the coming weeks as he goes through a fair and thorough evaluation process."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R)
"President Trump has made a superb choice. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an impressive nominee who is extremely well qualified to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Judge Kavanaugh has sterling academic credentials. He is widely admired for his intellect, experience, and exemplary judicial temperament. He has won the respect of his peers and is highly regarded throughout the legal community. And his judicial record demonstrates a firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written.
I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh and to the Senate's fair consideration of his nomination, beginning with the work of Chairman Grassley and the Judiciary Committee. This is an opportunity for Senators to put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command."
Sen. Rand Paul (R)
"I look forward to the upcoming hearings, reviewing the record, and meeting personally with Judge Kavanaugh, with an open mind."
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D)
"As I have said, part of my job as Senator includes thoroughly considering judicial nominations, including to the Supreme Court. I will take the same approach as I have previously for a Supreme Court vacancy. Following the president's announcement, I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Judge Brett Kavanaugh."
Sen. Todd Young (R)
"Brett Kavanaugh is a well-respected judge with a strong record of honoring the Constitution & upholding the rule of law. I look forward to conducting a thorough & objective review of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination over the coming weeks & hope my colleagues will do the same."