Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of the most watched Republicans in the Trump administration’s fight to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice, told CNN Tuesday that her vetting of the nominee will take weeks, not days, and says all senators need to do their “due diligence” before deciding how to vote.
The senior senator from Alaska – who has differed with her party in the past on the issue of abortion rights, among others – told CNN that she will meet with Kavanaugh and pore over his extensive record carefully.
“We’ve done some of our own background on some of the opinion that he has written. But my first look is that he certainly has the qualifications, but I know that there will be further process,” Murkowski said. “There’s a lot of work to be done before I think a real, fair analysis of Judge Kavanaugh and his qualifications to serve on our highest court.”
Murkowski – like Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine – said she needs more information before she knows whether Kavanaugh would uphold the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling affirming the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
“I don’t have an impression on Judge Kavanaugh as to where he may fall on the issue of abortion as well as the many other issues that I will weigh as we move forward with this process,” Murkowski said. “So again, that’s why I think all of us need to be doing our due diligence.”
Murkowski, who has been seen as voting with Democrats in the past on crucial issues including one whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act, warned that her colleagues should be taking their time before rushing to judgment.
“I find it somewhat troubling that even before the President named Judge Kavanaugh that there were those who were roundly condemning the nominee without knowing who the nominee is,” Murkowski said. “I think that there is a process – that process needs to be fair, it needs to be open. We all, every member of the United States Senate has an equal obligation to thoroughly vet this nominee. And we will come down on one side or the other but in due deference to the nominee and in due deference to the president’s prerogative to name a nominee. We have an obligation to thoroughly work through this advice and consent process.”
Murkowski is considered one of the Republican senators that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need to be watching closely as McConnell cannot afford a single Republican defection unless he can convince Democrats to cross the aisle and vote for the nominee.