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Sen. Brown undecided on Trump Supreme Court nominee after meeting

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said he’s still undecided about whether he’ll support President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after meeting with him two weeks ahead of his Senate confirmation hearing.

Mr. Brown said the two discussed the judge’s record and his views on rights for workers, women and consumers, and his position on health care.

“I’m already very troubled by the Supreme Court’s recent decisions stripping rights from Ohioans, and I have serious concerns about some of Judge Kavanaugh’s rulings and positions on health care for Ohioans with pre-existing conditions, and the rights of Ohio workers, women, and consumers,” Mr. Brown said in a statement this week. “I am continuing to listen to Ohioans and review Judge Kavanagh’s record as I make my final decision.”

Since President Trump announced the federal judge’s nomination last month, Mr. Kavanaugh has held so-called courtesy visits with members of both parties ahead of his Senate confirmation hearing beginning Sept. 4.

Mr. Brown’s opponent in the November election, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Ohio) has not met with Mr. Kavanaugh but said he supports the President’s nominee. Republicans criticized Mr. Brown for waiting so long to meet with Mr. Kavanaugh.

“Judge Kavanaugh is a thoughtful, experienced jurist who should certainly be confirmed by the Senate and it's unfortunate that Sherrod Brown cares so much more about [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer than he does about the Ohioans he's being paid to serve,” the Wadsworth congressman said in a statement.

Just two weeks out from what is expected to be a grueling confirmation process, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) — one Mr. Kavanaugh’s staunchest supporters — said Tuesday the judge has been prepped by several senators for what’s ahead.

Mr. Kavanaugh, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., will be questioned about the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which provides the constitutional right to an abortion.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), an abortion rights supporter and undecided swing vote, said Tuesday that Mr. Kavanaugh told her Roe v. Wade is “settled law,” according to published reports.

Mr. Portman said this aligns with he knows about Mr. Kavanaugh’s record. 

“His philosophy on these longstanding Supreme Court precedents like Roe v. Wade is pretty well laid,” he said. “It doesn’t sound like it’s inconsistent with what he’s being saying for a long time — he’s not going to legislate from the bench and he’s going to show respect for precedent.”

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