Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has picked up the support of Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, just ahead of his first scheduled meeting with a Democratic senator.
“No one will ever completely agree with a nominee (unless, of course, you are the nominee). Each nominee, however, must be judged on the totality of their views, character, and opinions,” Paul said in a statement. “I have expressed my concern over Judge Kavanaugh’s record on warrantless bulk collection of data and how that might apply to very important privacy cases before the Supreme Court.”
The libertarian-leaning Paul noted that his decision to back Kavanaugh, whom President Donald Trump nominated earlier this month to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, wasn’t based entirely on assurances about privacy rights. But his statement suggested it was important.
“I have hope that in light of the new precedent in Carpenter v. United States, Judge Kavanaugh will be more open to a Fourth Amendment that protects digital records and property,” Paul said, referring to a Supreme Court decision last month that boosted protections for cellphone records that reveal a user’s location and movements over extended periods of time.
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The announcement from Paul came mere hours before Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia was scheduled to become the first Democrat to meet with Kavanaugh.
A delegation of West Virginians organized under the banner of Protect Our Care, a group that has led outside opposition to repealing the 2010 health care overhaul law, want to meet with Manchin later Monday afternoon, after his scheduled meeting with the high court nominee.
Manchin has repeatedly said that among his key concerns is whether Kavanaugh would side with Texas and other states with Republican attorneys general (including his 2018 GOP Senate challenger Patrick Morrisey) to upend pre-existing condition protections in the health care law.
“I’ve had over 2,000 inquiries from West Virginians saying, ‘Please ask this. Please check this out.’ We’ve assembled all that, we’ve gone through his record, and we have questions assembled to ask him,” Manchin told reporters in West Virginia over the weekend.
According to the West Virginia MetroNews, Manchin said that he fully understands Kavanaugh would be a more conservative justice.
“He’s going to be center or center right. The Democrats are not in a majority. The president is not a Democrat now. So the Democrats can’t expect for them to get somebody that’s going to be center or left. It’s not going to happen,” the senator said.
Ahead of the Manchin meeting, Republican campaign operatives were on the attack against the other Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch as Trump’s first Supreme Court choice but have yet to meet with Kavanaugh.
Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly has scheduled an Aug. 15 meeting with Kavanaugh, who is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp has also said she intends to meet with the nominee.