Hear Kavanaugh discuss independent counsel

Judge Brett Kavanaugh two years ago expressed his desire to overturn a three-decade-old Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel, a comment bound to get renewed scrutiny in his confirmation proceedings to sit on the high court.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 9:59 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 10:28 AM

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the video showing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's desire to overturn a 1988 Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel "deeply, deeply troubling."

"Considering everything we know about Judge Kavanaugh's expansive view of executive power and accountability, the fact that Morrison v. Olson, of all the cases in the history of the Supreme Court, is the first case he could think of overturning is deeply, deeply troubling," the New York Democrat said Wednesday.

The remarks from Schumer signal Democrats plan to use this as an opportunity to call for Kavanaugh to commit to recusing himself from weighing in on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Schumer was referencing recently resurfaced comments that Kavanaugh made two years ago expressing his desire to overturn a three-decade-old Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel, a comment bound to get renewed scrutiny in his confirmation proceedings to sit on the high court.

Speaking to a conservative group in 2016, Kavanaugh bluntly said he wanted to "put the final nail" in a 1988 Supreme Court ruling.

Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also told reporters if Kavanaugh is confirmed, he should recuse himself from ruling on any cases involving the Mueller investigation that come before the Supreme Court.

"This to me is more of a reason why there's an urgency in either rejecting this nominee or making sure that this nominee, if we go forward, commits to recusing themselves from any of the issues that come before the Supreme Court," Booker said.

That decision, known as Morrison v. Olson, upheld the constitutionality of provisions creating an independent counsel under the 1978 Ethics in Government Act -- the same statute under which Ken Starr, for whom Kavanaugh worked, investigated President Bill Clinton.

The law expired in 1999, when it was replaced by the more modest Justice Department regulation that governs special counsels like Mueller.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley downplayed the video showing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's desire to overturn the independent counsel ruling.

"I don't think it carries much weight at this point," he said on Wednesday.

While the White House did not directly respond to the news, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah slammed Democrats for talking about the remarks in a series of tweets Wednesday.

"The Dem attacks on Kavanaugh's 2016 speech today are laughable, and show a total lack of understanding. There is a clear legal difference between the Independent Counsel statute and the Special Counsel regulation. Let's not play fast and loose," he said in the first tweet.

He also accused Democrats of hypocrisy, pointing to comments made nearly two decades ago where Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin criticized an independent counsel.

"That's why Senator Durbin had this to say about the Independent Counsel: 'Our form of government is grounded on the premise that unchecked power is tyranny. The independent counsel is unchecked, unbridled, unrestrained, and unaccountable,'" he said in another tweet.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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