Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) used his opening statements at the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings to rail against what he called the “Roberts Five,” i.e. Chief Justice John Roberts and the four other conservative justices whom Whitehouse accused of consistently ruling in favor of “big Republican interests.”
“The litany of ‘Roberts Five’ decisions explains why big Republican interests want Judge Kavanaugh on the court so badly,” Whitehouse said.
A Senate staffer held up charts behind Whitehouse while the senator rattled off a series of conservative 5-4 Supreme Court decisions rolling back voting rights, campaign finance reform, environmental regulations and union operations, among other court decisions.
Pie charts! pic.twitter.com/EXwECin5h5
— Tierney Sneed (@Tierney_Megan) September 4, 2018
“No wonder the American people feel the game is rigged,” Whitehouse said. He pointed to the Trump administration’s use of the Federalist Society to pick judicial nominees and the ad campaigns to confirm those nominees led by the Judicial Crisis Network, whose funders remain secret.
Whitehouse also brought up Roberts’ famous confirmation hearing line — that as a judge he merely calls balls and strikes — to argue that his court is 73-0 in ruling in favor of corporations.
“Big Republican interests keep winning 5-4 partisan decisions: 73-0, Mr. Kavanaugh, every damned time,” Whitehouse said.
Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley returned to Whitehouse’s remarks after the lunch break, and said that the press should not tolerate the “double standard” of the senator’s attacks on the Supreme Court, given the scrutiny President Trump’s criticisms of the judiciary are given.