‘Misled the American people’: AOC calls out Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on lying about abortion views

As the country continues to process the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that made abortion legal nationwide, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the Senate Monday to question whether Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath about their views on the case.

During their Senate confirmation hearings, both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said that they viewed Roe v. Wade as a settled “precedent” that had been “reaffirmed many times.” However, when the time came to uphold that precedent and vote, the two thought otherwise.

Ocasio-Cortez joined with Rep. Ted Lieu to write a letter to the Senate asking them to investigate whether Kavanaugh and Gorsuch lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to become confirmed.

"Multiple Supreme Court Justices misled the American people during their confirmation hearings about their views on Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood," Ocasio-Cortez and Lieu said in the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. "At least two of them, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, directly lied to Senators.

"We respect the right of individual Justices to have their own views on various constitutional issues," the letter continued. "But we cannot have a system where Justices lie about their views in order to get confirmed. That makes a mockery of the confirmation power, and of the separation of powers."

We cannot allow Supreme Court nominees lying and/or misleading the Senate under oath to go unanswered. Both GOP & Dem Senators stated SCOTUS justices misled them. This cannot be accepted as precedent. Doing so erodes rule of law, delegitimizes the court, and imperils democracy. https://t.co/yZW6BKnqFG

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 11, 2022

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Following their vote in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which overturned Roe v. Wade, several lawmakers who voted to confirm Gorsuch in 2017 and Kavanaugh in 2018 expressed concern at the consequential outcome, saying they felt misled by the two justices, Business Insider reported.

”This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon," Sen. Susan Collins, an abortion rights supporter, said in a statement.

"I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans," Sen. Joe Manchin said in a statement. While personally against abortion, Manchin supports legislation to protect abortion rights.

The letter isn’t the first time Ocasio-Cortez questioned the SCOTUS justices lying during their respected confirmations.

In her argument that the two lied, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized the point that even Republicans who supported Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were shocked by their recent votes. She added that lying under oath is a serious offense that she believes calls for impeachment.

"To allow that to stand is to allow it to happen," Ocasio-Cortez told NBC News on June 26. "What makes it particularly dangerous is that it sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly elected members of the United States Senate in order to secure Supreme Court confirmations and seats on the Supreme Court."

Lieu also previously accused some justices of lying about their stance on Roe v. Wade. The day the Dobbs’ decision was announced, Lieu posted a message about a Gallup poll that found confidence in the Supreme Court’s support for abortion rights was at a low.

"Multiple conservative Supreme Court Justices led the American people to believe that Roe v. Wade was settled precedent during their confirmation hearings," Lieu wrote in the June 24 tweet. "The American people now know these Justices lied. And now public confidence in the Court is at its lowest level in history."

Both Lieu and Ocasio-Cortez vowed to fight for abortion rights following the official verdict.

"People will die because of this decision," Ocasio-Cortez said. "And we will never stop until abortion rights are restored in the United States of America."

Morning Digest: GOP primary for open Ohio Senate seat grows larger and could get even more crowded

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

OH-Sen: The Republican field for Ohio's open Senate seat swelled to four on Tuesday when Mike Gibbons, an investment banker who lost the 2018 primary, announced that he would launch a second bid.

Gibbons joins former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, ex-state party chair Jane Timken, and fellow businessman Bernie Moreno in what could be a crowded race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman. Several other Republicans are also talking about running including venture capitalist J.D. Vance and Reps. Bill Johnson, Steve Stivers, and Mike Turner, so this contest will likely become even larger.

Gibbons hoped to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in the 2018 contest for the Buckeye State's other Senate seat, but he spent much of the primary looking like the clear underdog against Mandel. The race took a shocking turn early that year, though, when Mandel, citing his then-wife's health, suddenly dropped out.

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Gibbons briefly had the contest to himself, but if he was hoping he'd emerge as the party's default nominee, he soon got a rude awakening. Rep. Jim Renacci switched from the governor's race to the Senate contest, and he quickly emerged as Team Red's new frontrunner even before he received Donald Trump's endorsement. Gibbons ended up self-funding $2.8 million, which represented more than 80% of his campaign's total haul, but Renacci beat him by a wide 47-32 margin; Renacci ultimately lost to Brown that fall.

Gibbons is hoping that he'll be the one to receive Trump's backing this time, and Politico reported last month that he joined each of his now-rivals in Florida as they each made their case for an endorsement. Gibbons, however, acknowledged to the Cincinnati Enquirer this week that he doesn't "expect" to receive Trump's coveted not-tweet.

That pessimism may at least prevent Gibbons from the kind of embarrassing headlines that Mandel received over the weekend. Axios' Alayna Treene reports that Mandel made another trip to Florida to attend the Republican National Committee's donor retreat, an event that Trump addressed on Saturday. Mandel didn't get the chance to hobnob with his party's leader, though, as he was told to leave the previous day because he hadn't been invited in the first place. Timken, by contrast, was a credentialed attendee on account of her major donor status.

1Q Fundraising

IL-Sen: Tammy Duckworth (D-inc): $3.7 million raised, $1.8 million cash-on-hand

CA-25: Mike Garcia (R-inc): $650,000 raised

MA-04: Jake Auchincloss (D-inc): $460,000 raised, $850,000 cash-on-hand

NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis (R-inc): $358,000 raised, $338,000 cash-on-hand

NY-24: John Katko (R-inc): $436,000 raised, $586,000 cash-on-hand

Senate

IA-Sen, IA-Gov: For the first time since early this year, Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne has spoken about her plans for 2022, saying she'd be "interested in doing a job for Iowa that improves people's lives." That, Axne, said, could mean running for Senate or governor, or seeking re-election to the House. The Storm Lake Times, which reported Axne's remarks, incorrectly concluded that the congresswoman had listed those offices in order of preference; her communications team, however, clarified she'd done no such thing, saying that "all three options are on the table." In an interview in January, Axne declined to rule out bids for either statewide office.

Governors

IL-Gov: Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, who previously hadn't ruled out a run for governor, now says that his preference is to seek re-election but, depending on the upcoming round of redistricting, he could opt for a gubernatorial bid instead. Illinois is one of the few states where Democrats will have unfettered control of the mapmaking process this decade, and they could make Davis' 13th Congressional District considerably bluer.

MD-Gov: Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, who was reported to be weighing a bid for governor, publicly confirmed for the first time on Sunday that he's "considering" entering the Democratic primary. John Olszewski didn't offer a timetable for making a decision, but he noted that he'd be introducing a budget on Thursday and said he would "take the time necessary to ensure its passage." In recent years, county budgets have passed sometime in May.

VA-Gov: Term-limited Gov. Ralph Northam, who just endorsed former Gov. Terry McAuliffe last week, now stars in his predecessor's newest TV ad. Northam praises McAuliffe for having "the experience and vision to lead Virginia into a stronger and more equitable future."

House

CA-39: Former Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros, who had expressed some interest in a rematch after losing his first bid for re-election last fall, has been nominated by Joe Biden to run the Defense Department's personnel office. If Cisneros, a veteran who served in the Navy at the rank of lieutenant commander, is confirmed by the Senate, that presumably would take him out of the running for another congressional campaign.

Following the Cisneros news, Rep. Ted Lieu endorsed the lone notable Democrat running against freshman Republican Rep. Young Kim, community college trustee Jay Chen. Lieu, who was one of the House managers of Donald Trump's second impeachment, represents a Los Angeles-area district not far from California's 39th, which is based in Orange County.

FL-20: Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness kicked off a campaign for Florida's vacant 20th Congressional District on Monday with the backing of Alcee Hastings II, who'd been mentioned as a possible candidate for the seat that had been held by his late father. Holness joins state Sen. Perry Thurston and Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief among the notable Democrats running in the as-yet unscheduled special election to replace the elder Hastings, who died earlier this month at the age of 84.

Sharief had in fact filed paperwork to run in the 20th District back in December, months before Hastings died, but she hasn't used that extra time to build up much of a donor base: In her first quarterly fundraising report, she brought in just $13,000 from individuals during the first three months of the year, though she also loaned her campaign another $100,000 on top of that.

GA-06, GA-07: Army veteran Harold Earls, who recently became the first notable Republican to launch a challenge to Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, says he might change races depending on how redistricting turns out. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Earls says he might switch to the neighboring 7th District, represented by freshman Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, "if her district was made more friendly to the GOP."

LA-02: State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson earned an endorsement Tuesday from the progressive group End Citizens United ahead of the April 24 all-Democratic runoff.

Meanwhile, campaign finance reports covering the time between March 1 and April 4 are out (the March 24 all-party primary fell in the middle of this period), and they show that fellow state Sen. Troy Carter maintains a financial advantage. Carter outraised Peterson about $610,000 to $363,000 (Peterson self-funded an additional $10,000) and outspent her $676,000 to $444,000. Carter held a $223,000 to $138,000 edge in cash-on-hand for the final weeks of the campaign.

NY-24: Public policy professor Dana Balter, who lost two straight campaigns to Republican Rep. John Katko in 2018 and 2020, says she won't be back for a third try next year. However, Navy veteran Francis Conole, who lost last year's Democratic nomination to Balter by a 63-37 margin, says he's considering another campaign. Meanwhile, Roger Misso, another Navy veteran who also ran last cycle but dropped out a few months before the primary, says he "has no plans to seek office," according to syracuse.com.

Mayors

New York City, NY Mayor: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams picked up an endorsement Tuesday from the city firefighters’ union, the Uniformed Firefighters Officers Association, for the June Democratic primary.

The second impeachment of Trump will begin on Monday

House Democrats met by conference call Friday, the outcome of which is articles of impeachment against Donald Trump will be ready to be introduced on Monday. A source told Reuters the articles drafted by Representatives David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin will be introduced in Monday's pro forma session. There will likely be an objection from Republicans, so they probably will have to bring the whole House back to bring the resolution formally Tuesday or Wednesday.

A draft of the measure charges Trump with "inciting violence against the government of the United States" in his effort to overturn the results seating President-elect Joe Biden. The articles also cite Trump's efforts to get Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" the votes to give the state to him. "President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coordinate branch of government," the draft legislation states. "President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States, [emphasis added]" it concludes. That says it all.

Asked about the effort at a press conference Friday, Biden said that he's long thought Trump was unfit for office and that was a key reason for his run. He added "What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide. … So we're going to do our job, and Congress can decide how to proceed with theirs." Pressed again on what he would advise congressional leaders, Biden said "I'd tell them that's a decision for the Congress to make. I'm focused on my job." As he should be.

This is a decision for Congress, and it's vitally important that they move forward with it. Not just to make sure Trump is barred from ever holding office again. Not just to make sure that no Republican president ever, ever tries this again in the future. Not just to hold all of the Republicans in Congress who have participated in this sedition accountable, forcing them to face the American people and vote.

To make the country whole again. To restore the rule of law. For that effort, thank you to every Democratic member of Congress responsible.

Some Democrats want to move past Trump. But ignoring his seditious acts threatens American democracy

New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries delivered a message Monday about the posture of House Democrats' leadership team regarding Donald Trump's relentless attempts to engineer a fascist takeover of the American republic. 

“We’re not looking backward," Jeffries told reporters during a press conference. "We’re looking forward to the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20th.” 

That forward-looking vision came less than 24 hours after the Washington Post posted smoking-gun audio of an hour-long phone call in which Trump (aka Mafia Don) attempted to threaten and cajole Georgia's top election officials to "find" enough votes to overturn the state's election results. 

Nonetheless, Kate Bedingfield, an adviser to President-elect Joe Biden offered a similar take to Jeffries, saying, "The country is ready to move forward."

But the problem with simply rushing past Mafia Don's political grave is that ignoring his seditious acts is as much a threat to the future of American democracy as Trump's failed efforts were in the first place. In short—seditious, traitorous acts left unchecked beget seditious, traitorous acts. In fact, Senate Republicans with the twinkle of 2024 presidential bids in their eyes are already lining up in support of Trump's effort to tear down democracy in order to maintain his grip on power. Trump's final gambit is all but certain to fail on Wednesday during a joint session of Congress to certify the election results, but the major takeaway is that plenty of future GOP Trumps are waiting in the wings to trash representative democracy on the way to meeting their own political ends unless a price is exacted for doing so. And the lesson those Republicans have learned so far—just as Trump learned from his acquittal—is that there's no serious price to pay, political or otherwise, for betraying the country.

Both the incoming Biden administration and Congress have a role to play in safeguarding our democracy for generations to come. One is criminal and the other is a matter of governance. Biden must appoint smart, resolute leaders to the Justice Department and then simply get out of the way and let them do their jobs. Hamstringing justice in any way with regard to Trump's endless assault on the law and the Constitution would be disastrous for the country's future. But Biden can easily make those appointments to the Department of Justice and then rightfully send the message that his administration is focused on the task of righting the ship in regard to the pandemic and the faltering economy. 

House Democrats, however, cannot afford to simply move along, as if the threat to our democracy ends once Trump is summarily booted from the White House residence. That is a patently false contention given the upheaval we are already witnessing in the Republican party. Trump must be held to account. That can be done in several ways, a couple of which are already in process.

One way is by making a criminal referral to the FBI over Trump's attempted election crimes, an investigation that Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York are already urging FBI Director Chris Wray to undertake.

Another possibility is censuring Trump over his call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson introduced a censure motion on Monday with the support of 90 of his colleagues. That number will likely grow in the coming days and weeks as Congress gets back to work—or at least, it should grow, since there are presently 222 Democratic members of the House.

Impeachment is another potential option, but to what end at this point? Trump is just over two weeks away from removal and, as we have already seen, the effort would surely be blocked by the GOP-controlled Senate. Heck, more than a quarter of the Senate Republican caucus has jumped aboard Team coup at this point. 

What does seem a worthy effort, however, is continued investigations of Trump and his minions. Not only do the facts need to come out, but if Democrats are to draft legislation to safeguard our democracy against future Trumps, they will need to know exactly what actions he and his enablers took in their extensive efforts to kneecap America's institutions and systems of governance. 

But none of those three options—a criminal referral, censure, and ongoing investigations—amount to simply "looking forward." What is past will haunt the nation and Democrats, in particular, if it is buried before an autopsy can be conducted and people held to account for their roles in assaulting and undermining America’s democracy.