Retired Supreme Court Justice Changes Mind on Kavanaugh

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"Judge Kavanaugh's partisanship and temperament would do lasting damage to the credibility of the Court - an often overlooked outcome should he be confirmed".

Thursday evening, former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens spoke to a group of retirees about his tenure and the current political climate.

"At that time, I thought he had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected", Stevens noted, of his 2014 praise for Kavanaugh.

He said he had changed his views for reasons that have "really no relationship to his intellectual ability or his record as a federal judge", and added that "he's a fine federal judge".

Stevens is quoted as saying, "I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind".

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan expressed concern Friday over the court's lack of a swing vote with Justice Anthony Kennedy's departure from the bench.

But Stevens, who was an associate justice on the Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010 and gradually shifted to become a reliably liberal justice, suggested Thursday that Kavanaugh went too far in defending himself.

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Stevens also said political leaders and the court have failed to fix the nation's confidence in the judicial branch's separation from the president and the legislature.

Kavanaugh's opponents' first line of attack targeted his originalist judicial philosophy.

In an emotionally charged hearing September 27, Ford testified that a drunken Kavanaugh had forced himself on her at a gathering when they were teenagers in the early 1980s.

"Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the victor of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is clear", Stevens wrote in the strongly worded dissent. Wrapping up, Stevens says that Senators need to be aware of Kavanaugh's partisan attitudes and that it would be unhealthy to bring on a judge that would "only do a part-time job".

Supreme Court justices usually don't speak on political matters in public, regardless of their status. "And it's not so clear that, you know, I think going forward that sort of middle position - you know, it's not so clear whether we'll have it".

The 98-year-old, since retiring, called for the repeal of the Second Amendment in a New York Times op-ed earlier this year.