As we neared the 11th hour of Wednesday’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) jumped right into a line of questioning about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s views on the use of race in government policy, such as in affirmative action. Kavanaugh did his best not to answer him.
Kavanaugh repeatedly answered Booker’s questions about the judge’s previous comments about race by attempting to bring the conversation to what the Supreme Court precedent on the specific issue.
Booker asked Kavanaugh about a brief where he invoked a Justice Antonin Scalia quote that the government could not have a compelling interest in implement race-conscious program. Kavanuagh explained that “that’s what I wrote then as a lawyer for my client” and not necessarily his own voice.
Booker pointed to comments Kavanaugh made in 1999 that he believed in 10 to 20 years the court would find that “we are all one race in the eyes of government.” The judge defended the remark was “aspirational.”
“What was going on in the 1990s that led you to have that belief?” Booker asked.
“Hope,” Kavanaugh said.
Asked whether the government has a compelling interest in promoting diverse student bodies, Kavanaugh said “the Supreme Court has said so” and tried to pivot to his own efforts to “promote diversity.”
“I’m not worried about the law is now, I am worried about what the law is going to be, sir, when you get on the court and have the ability to change those precedents,” Booker said.