Grassley: Chief Justice Roberts 'could create the center' on the Supreme Court

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Retired US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said on Thursday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh does not belong on the high court because of "potential bias" he showed in his recent Senate confirmation hearing.

Kavanaugh was accused in September of committing sexual and physical assault more than 30 years ago, and he testified about the alleged incident at a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Kavanaugh opponents held nationwide protests on Thursday, including a demonstration across the street from the ABA's headquarters in Chicago.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens spoke with a group of retirees in Boca Raton, Florida, on Thursday. Without mentioning Kavanaugh by name or referring to the confirmation fight, the two justices sought to distance themselves from the political rancor that has enveloped Washington over his nomination.

"You can not help but like Clarence Thomas", Stevens said, "which I don't think necessarily would be true of this particular nominee".

Comments by two crucial Republican senators - Jeff Flake and Susan Collins - indicated the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, which was the latest twist in the pitched political battle over Kavanaugh, may have allayed their concerns about Kavanaugh. Stevens was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1978.

Even if the court splits 5 to 4 on the nation's most important issues, Sotomayor said, it is important for the public to see that doesn't create animosity among the nine justices.

Stevens had praised Kavanaugh in his 2014 book "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution", the Post noted. 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". He was appointed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford, a Republican, but he voted with the court's liberal wing for much of his tenure. But, he added, "I've changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability". Last March, Stevens penned an op-ed for the New York Times in which he called for the repeal of the Second Amendment, describing the concern that an unarmed populace is vulnerable to tyranny as "a relic of the 18th century".

"Despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY", Trump wrote. Kavanaugh strongly denied the allegations later in the hearing, calling the hearing a "circus" and sparring with Democrats as they questioned him about his drinking and character.