Legal community reacts to Kavanaugh's confirmation

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Sunday, October 7, 2018
Legal community reacts to Kavanaugh's confirmation
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Legal community reacts to Kavanaugh's confirmation. Annie McCormick reports during Action News at 11:30 p.m. on October 6, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The legal community has watched the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh very closely.

Action News spoke to a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who says the legal community has been watching closely Saturday's Senate confirmation. It was the closest vote in nearly 100 years.

This has been the most contentious Supreme Court nomination we've seen in many many years.

Claire Finkelstein is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Director of the Center For Ethics and the Rule of Law.

"This one was so close 48-50, they were literally counting every single vote," she said.

Contentious and controversial is how some in the legal community think people will remember the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

"Usually even with Clarence Thomas, there is a consensus that builds and people come more and less into an agreement with each other. You don't normally see the Senate split nearly right down the middle," said Finkelstein.

She explained how many in the legal community felt his temperament during the hearings which made him appear unfit to serve on the highest court

"He should've had a more humble attitude this was .... highly contentious."

And the unprecedented nature of Kavanaugh's confirmation could impact how he proceeds with cases before him.

"As a result of the allegations, he should recuse himself on any matter of sex assault .... reproductive rights,"

And depending on this November's mid-term elections, his seat may not be secured.

The house does have the option to try for an impeachment.

"I think the Supreme Court will be a changed institution because of these politics and I don't think it's going to be for the better," said Finkelstein.

From our area, republican Senator Pat Toomey voted yes today and said Kavanaugh has sterling academic credentials and an outstanding legal record with 12 years of exemplary service as a judge on the second highest court.

Finkelstein was one of nearly 2500 law professors who wrote to the Senate to try and stop the Kavanaugh confirmation, citing, not the allegations against him, but rather his reaction to them and his responses to senators during the hearing.

"People felt he wasn't Supreme Court material," said Finkelstein.

As Kavanaugh was sworn in, protestors made their voices heard, clashing at times with Kavanaugh supporters.

What else made this process unprecedented, the public response through the protests, both for and against Kavanaugh.

"What we really see is an increase in activism both on the right and left and this is one expression of it," added Finkelstein.

In the tristate area, Republican Pat Toomey voted to confirm Kavanaugh saying he has the credentials and experience including 12 years on the second highest court in the nation.


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