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From 'Far Right' To 'Brilliant,' Illinois Pols React To Trump Supreme Court Pick

Dick Durbin speaks with reporters outside his house in Springfield
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin speaks with reporters outside his Springfield home in this 2017 file photo.

Illinois officials are reacting to President Trump’s nomination of federal appellate court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Responses are pretty much falling along party lines.

Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth contrasted the Republican urgency to confirm Cavanaugh with the party's refusal to consider President Obama’s final nominee. She calls it “opportunism” representing “everything Americans hate most about politics.”

Nevertheless, she said she’d review Kavanaugh’s rulings and evaluate his qualifications.

That’s more than her fellow Democratic senator, Dick Durbin, said. He's calling Kavanaugh a “far-right jurist” who “consistently favors big business.”

Durbin was equally unsparing back in 2004, when Kavanaugh was first nominated to be a lower court judge.

“Wouldn’t you understand that an attorney coming before the D.C. Circuit Court, looking at your resume, has to assume — just assume — where you're going to end up? There're so few exceptions, if any, in your legal career that point to objectivity,” Durbin said during a conformation hearing.

Republicans are so far mostly supporting Kavanaugh. U.S. Reps. Mike Bost and Randy Hultgren issued statements respectively calling him “brilliant” and “unassailable.”

Statewide candidate were positive but stopped short of calling for his confirmation: Gov. Bruce Rauner tweeted that Kavanaugh has "impressive credentials and he deserves a fair hearing and swift vote on his nomination."

Erika Harold, the Repbulican nominee for Illinois attorney general, issued a statement saying Kavanaugh "has impeccable legal credentials and an impressive resume of public service. I look forward to learning more about his legal career and judicial philosophy as the confirmation process unfolds.”

In a statement, Harold's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, urged the U.S. Senate to reject Kavanaugh's nomination, citing the possibility of a new conservative majority that could overturn the right to an abortion articulated in Roe v. Wade.

Rauner's opponent, J.B. Pritzker, issued a statement calling on the governor to "join me (Pritzker) in opposing this nomination."

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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