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Indiana delegation weighs in on Kavanaugh



WASHINGTON — The reception to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been mostly positive from within the Indiana congressional delegation, but all eyes are on U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) as the senator seeks reelection in a state President Donald Trump won by a double-digit margin in 2016.

Donnelly was one of three Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch last April.

Republicans are now pressuring Donnelly to support Trump’s nominee to replace retiring justice Anthony Kennedy.

“As I have said, part of my jobs as Senator includes thoroughly considering judicial nominations, including to the Supreme Court,” Donnelly (D-Ind.) said in a statement Monday night. “I will take the same approach as I have previously for a Supreme Court vacancy.”

Donnelly said he will “carefully review and consider” Kavanaugh’s record before making a decision.

The senator met with Trump in June to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy and other topics, but he declined the president’s invitation to attend Monday’s nomination announcement.

Much like Donnelly, U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) said he intends to conduct a “thorough and objective” review of Kavanaugh’s qualifications. Young’s assessment is currently positive, though, as he described Kavanaugh as a respected judge with a “strong record of honoring the Constitution and upholding the rule of law.”

In the House, which does not vote to confirm Supreme Court nominees, members of the Indiana delegation wrote glowing reviews of Kavanaugh in the hours after his nomination was made public.

“President Trump made an excellent choice,” U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) said in a statement Monday. “Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials and a strong record of defending the Constitution. I have no doubt he will continue to uphold the rule of law and respect the sanctity of life as a justice of the Supreme Court. The Senate should confirm his nomination without delay.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who represented Wabash County in the Indiana Senate before seeking a term in the House of Representatives, said Kavanaugh “will uphold our Constitution, defend the right to life and respect religious liberty.”