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Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she’ll oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, citing his views on health care and abortion rights.

“The people of Wisconsin need a fair, impartial and independent Supreme Court Justice who will stand up for them, not for powerful special interests. I don’t have confidence that Judge Kavanaugh would be that justice,” Baldwin, of Madison, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday.

Baldwin’s opposition is not surprising. Kavanaugh has yet to have any Democratic senators pledge support for his confirmation, though a few remain undecided — while those who have committed are strongly opposed.

But it’s sure to become an issue in Baldwin’s bid for re-election, as the top two Republicans vying to oppose Baldwin in November swiftly criticized her opposition.

Trump announced Monday that Kavanaugh, now a judge on the federal appeals court that includes Washington, D.C., is his pick to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Kennedy, a longtime swing vote on the court on key issues including abortion, will step down from the high court later this month.

Baldwin wrote that Americans do not want the Supreme Court “to advance a political agenda to overturn the law of the land on health care for people with pre-existing conditions, women’s reproductive health” and other matters.

“The President vowed to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and I cannot support a nominee for a lifetime appointment who would turn back the clock on a woman’s constitutional right and freedom to make her own health care choices,” Baldwin wrote.

Baldwin is seeking her second term in the U.S. Senate this fall.

One of the Republicans vying to oppose her, state Sen. Leah Vukmir, said in a statement that Kavanaugh “is an extremely well-qualified nominee who deserves our support.”

“When Wisconsin voters elected President Trump, they knew he’d choose judges who would uphold the Constitution. Sen. Baldwin’s ‘no’ vote will directly contradict the will of the people,” Vukmir said.

The other, businessman Kevin Nicholson, issued a statement calling Baldwin a “liberal obstructionist.” It said her opposition to Kavanaugh is “one of many reasons we need to defeat Baldwin and increase the Republican majority in the United States Senate.”


Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.