Once a Kavanaugh fan, former Justice John Paul Stevens withdraws support

John Paul Stevens Opposes Kavanaugh: Thursday Hearing 'Changed My Mind'

The comments came on the eve of the Senate's expected final vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has made a number of blatantly partisan statements during his contentious confirmation process.

Neither justice waded into the debate surrounding sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.

Speaking to a crowd in Boca Raton, Florida, the 98-year-old Stevens suggested that Kavanaugh's temperament should disqualify him. But, he added, "I've changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability".

Kavanaugh was widely criticised for his behaviour in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, when he defended himself against accusations lodged by Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were both in high school.

"I think there's merit in that criticism, and that the senators should really pay attention to it for the good of the court".

With Kavanaugh set to replace retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the court will now have five consistent conservatives, all nominated by Republican presidents, and four consistent liberals nominated by Democratic presidents.

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"At that time, I thought (Kavanaugh) had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected", Stevens is quoted as saying.

Stevens said political leaders and the court have failed to fix the nation's confidence in the judicial branch's separation from the president and the Legislature. "It's not healthy to get a new justice who can only do a part-time job", Stevens said.

The US Senate is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation on Friday.

Stevens said he had admired Kavanaugh's judicial work and had written positively about it in one of his books, "Six Amendments", which proposed a number of changes to the Constitution.

In an emotionally charged hearing September 27, Ford testified that a drunken Kavanaugh had forced himself on her at a gathering when they were teenagers in the early 1980s.

In the book, Stevens praised a decision from Kavanaugh. But he has since gone on to question her credibility on Twitter and to openly mock her at a campaign rally - a move Ford's lawyer said she found "very hurtful". Almost 1,000 law professors signed a letter this week that said he "displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land".

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