Retired Supreme Court Justice Changes Mind on Kavanaugh

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Kavanaugh sworn in by Roberts

View Larger + Kavanaugh sworn in by Roberts

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told a crowd this week that Brett Kavanaugh is not the right nominee for the bench.

Stevens, who's praised Kavanaugh before, says he's changed his mind about Kavanaugh for reasons unrelated to Kavanaugh's "intellectual ability".

Speaking to an audience of retirees in Boca Raton, Florida, Stevens, 98, said he started out believing that Kavanaugh deserved to be confirmed, "but his performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind". Retired Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy refused to comment on the Kavanaugh scandal when asked about it last month, but did offer a vague statement about the state of democracy.

And the newspaper says Stevens says he thinks "there's merit to that criticism and I think the senators should really pay attention that". He served from 1975 until his retirement in 2010. He signed a dissenting opinion in the Bush v. Gore case, in which the majority ruled to settle the 2000 election recount dispute in favor of George W. Bush.

Stevens said he, too, has come to believe that Kavanaugh, a US appellate judge, "demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the (high) court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities".

Stevens is famously a lifelong Republican-though he just as famously sided with the liberal wing of the court on several hot-button issues over the years. But everything changed after his Judiciary Committee testimony. In his book, "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution", Stevens said, he included a description of an opinion Kavanaugh wrote in a section where the retired Supreme Court justice argues for reversing the court's Citizens United ruling.

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