SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch vowed Tuesday to do everything in his power to see that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And the Utah Republican accused Democrats of trying to derail his confirmation even before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings begin and predicted they would try to turn Kavanaugh into a "judicial monster."
"It's hard to believe. It's really hard to believe," Hatch said in a speech on the Senate floor.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., made a promise of his own, telling "CBS This Morning" that he will work to oppose the nomination with "everything I've got," adding that he's confident there will be a majority in the Senate that will do the same.
President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge in the District of Columbia, to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Utah's all-GOP congressional delegation praised the choice.
"I know a good nominee when I see one," Hatch said, noting he has participated in the last 14 Supreme Court confirmation battles, including those of all current members of the court.
There is no one more prepared or qualified than Kavanaugh for the job, said Hatch, who will meet with the nominee Wednesday.
"Funny thing is, I think that most people know that, including my friends on the other side," he said. "That’s one reason they’re afraid to have him on the court."
In the coming weeks, Democrats will throw everything they have Kavanaugh, and warn that his confirmation would mean the end of liberty and civil rights, Hatch said. The judge's opponents, he said, will twist his words, misrepresent his words and "do everything they can to make him into some sort of monster, a judicial monster."
Hatch called that "trash talk" that inevitably comes when a Republican nominates someone to the Supreme Court.
"This is the same playbook we've seen before," Hatch said, referring to the confirmation hearings for Justice Neil Gorsuch last year.
Schumer told CBS he was confident that if the Democrats can "prove to the American people, which I believe is truly the case, that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women's reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions, we'll get a majority of the Senate to vote" against Kavanaugh.31 comments on this story
"Obviously even if we had every Democrat, we need two Republicans, but if we can make that case, we will get a majority," he said.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Schumer said Kavanaugh is a "deeply, deeply conservative justice, way out of the mainstream." He said he would "side with the big boys against the average person" and hurt working families for a generation.
"We cannot let it happen," he said. "If the Senate blocks this nomination, it will lead to a more independent, moderate selection that both parties could support."