Oregon's U.S. senators tonight issued instant denunciations of President Donald Trump's selection of Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the conservative judge would seek to overturn legal abortion and restrict voting rights.
"We knew that if Donald Trump picked anyone off his list of extremists, fundamental rights would be at stake," said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). "Now, the decision has arrived, and everything we feared is on the line."
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) focused his remarks on reproductive rights.
"Tonight the president begins a forced march back to the days when women's health care choices were made by government," Wyden said. "There can be no mistaking Trump's Supreme Court nomination for anything but what it is: a direct attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade."
Merkley also raised the specter of Kavanaugh giving conservatives the victory they have long sought: the end of federal protections for women seeking abortions and contraception.
"Roe v. Wade could be overturned and abortion and forms of contraception criminalized," he said. "Americans with pre-existing conditions could lose life-saving health care. Marriage equality could be overturned. Racial inequality and blatant voter suppression could be further embraced by the highest court in the land.
"These are no longer wild hypotheticals; these are real and imminent threats to our nation," Merkley added.
Both senators pledged to vigorously oppose Kavanaugh's nomination, although with Democrats outnumbered in the Senate and the filibuster gutted, there appear to be few avenues for blocking the president's selection.