After weeks of waffling, Senator Rand Paul said Monday that he would support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court after meeting with Kavanaugh for over an hour last week.
“Of course, my vote is not a single-issue vote, and much of my reading and conversation has been in trying to figure out exactly how good Judge Kavanaugh will be on other issues before the Court,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement. “My conversation with Judge Kavanaugh reinforces my belief that he will evaluate cases before the Supreme Court from a textual and originalist point of view. I believe he will carefully adhere to the Constitution and will take his job to protect individual liberty seriously.”
Paul had previously said that he was “worried” about how Kavanaugh would approach Fourth Amendment issues.
Kavanaugh, a District of Columbia Court of Appeals judge, supported the court’s 2015 ruling upholding the constitutionality of a National Security Agency program that collected the metadata from Americans’ phone calls without a warrant.
Paul said he “disagrees completely” with Kavanaugh’s opinion on that matter.
“I think it’s worth [Kavanaugh] hearing that I don’t think anybody in America believes when you use a cell phone company, or when you use [a credit card], or when you use a bank, that somehow you’ve given up your right to privacy,” the senator said the confirmation hearing for Anthony Kennedy’s replacement.
Republicans badly need Paul’s vote given the GOP’s razor-thin 51–49 Senate majority.
The libertarian-leaning senator previously threatened to do “whatever it takes” to prevent the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, citing Pompeo’s previous support of the Iraq War and the CIA’s enhanced-interrogation program, but ended up supporting him after President Trump offered assurances that Pompeo now believes the war was a mistake.