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Isakson, Perdue plan to back Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh


Both of Georgia’s Republican U.S. senators publicly committed on Thursday to vote in favor of confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court this fall. 

In a speech on the Senate floor, senior Sen. Johnny Isakson called the D.C. Court of Appeals judge “the real deal.” 

“He is a regular guy, a brilliant man (who) cares about his country deeply,” he said. “I can’t think of any better reason to vote for him.” 

Isakson recounted his closed-door meeting with Kavanaugh, whom President Donald Trump tapped last month to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy, as well as an impromptu run-in they had in a Capitol Hill hallway a few days beforehand. 

“He talked to me like I was a long-lost friend,” Isakson said. 

Read more: Georgia officials praise Supreme Court pick as GOP braces for epic fight

Perdue, who had previously vowed to back Kavanaugh, also took to the Senate floor on Thursday to praise the nominee. 

“Judge Kavanaugh is an independent, well-qualified nominee to the United States Supreme Court. He’ll defend and uphold the United States Constitution,” Perdue said. “I give this man my fullest unreserved recommendation.” 

The Georgians’ endorsements came a day after Kavanaugh met with Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, two red-state Democrats seen as key votes in the chamber. Other Democrats have refused to meet with Kavanaugh until Republicans agree to seek records from his three years of service in the George W. Bush White House. 

Perdue said many Democrats were unfairly critical of Kavanaugh even before he was named as Kennedy’s would-be successor. 

“That kind of blind partisanship is what the American people find unacceptable about Washington,” he said. 

Many Democrats are worried that Kavanaugh will tilt the high court’s ideological balance to the right, but they alone don’t have the votes to block his confirmation. Party leaders have scrambled in recent weeks to find an argument that could prompt Republicans to reject Kavanaugh, including tying him to his former law clerk, the recently-confirmed 11th Circuit Judge Britt Grant. 

Those efforts have seemingly been unsuccessful. Senate Republicans announced they would hold a confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh beginning on Sept. 4, clearing the way for a final vote this fall. 

Isakson on Thursday pushed back against one of Democrats’ earliest arguments against Kavanaugh: that he was financially irresponsible for incurring tens of thousands in credit card debt to purchase season tickets to the Washington Nationals. 

“A guy who loves baseball, loves politics, loves America. It doesn’t get any better than that,” he said. 

Perdue voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, in April 2017, while Isakson voiced support from home as he recovered from back surgery. 

Read more: 

Kavanaugh previews his pitch at Georgia judge’s ceremony 

Dems slam Supreme Court nominee for backing Georgia judge


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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.