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Supreme Court Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, right, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, second from right, walk past the press following a photo opportunity on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Kavanaugh is on Capitol Hill to meet with Republican leaders as the battle begins over his nomination to the Supreme Court.

New York elected officials and local Republican and Democratic county leaders either lined up behind President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee or urged his defeat.

Trump nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who last week announced plans to retire.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, said, “President Trump has once again followed through on a campaign promise and appointed a strong conservative judge that will shape our country for generations to come.

“Judge Brett Kavanaugh elicits all the ideals of a spectacular Supreme Court Justice. He has demonstrated an exceptional legal understanding and commitment to the U.S. Constitution. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to confirm this highly-qualified and esteemed legal scholar to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Reed said.

Reed’s Democratic opponent in the 23rd Congressional District, Tracy Mitrano of Penn Yan, said, "Given the President's positions and behavior over the course of his administration, it would be difficult for me to support any individual he selects as a nominee for Associate Justice."  

Kavanaugh, a conservative jurist, “would tip the balance of the Supreme Court” on a range of issues, including overturning Roe v. Wade, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand warned in a statement.

He could also be the deciding vote on health care, Gillibrand said. The issue of pre-existing conditions may come before the Supreme Court will soon.

“I strongly oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and I urge all New Yorkers to raise their voices and join me in opposing him. We need a justice who will protect the rights of all people in our state — not just some, she said.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday, he believes Kavanaugh conformation “will lead to a court that repeals women's reproductive freedom and repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions.”

Schumer told CBS Kavanaugh’s writings indicate he does not believe presidents should be subjected to criminal investigations.

“With the Mueller situation, with the overreach of presidential power, we shouldn't put him on the bench,” he said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Kavanaugh “would deliver a devastating blow to American values. Kavanaugh is an extreme conservative with a clear partisan record.”

“He would put our rights and democratic priorities in jeopardy, including the Affordable Care Act, protections for the environment, organized labor, LGBTQ rights and the protections of Roe v. Wade,” Cuomo said.

Cattaraugus County Republican Party Chairman Robert C. Keis Sr., said Kavanaugh “won’t try to rewrite the Constitution, but interpret it as it was written.”

Keis said, “Democrats would be against him if they nominated God.”

“In reality, they (Democrats) are trying to make it sound like Roe v. Wade is the be all and end all,” he said. “If abortion is overturned, it would go back to the states. I would hate to see abortion made illegal, but you may want to limit the time.”

Cattaraugus County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Puglisi was unavailable for comment.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)