(CN) — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Monday that he will support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite misgivings about the judge’s views on surveillance and privacy issues.
Paul has been wavering on the question of supporting Kavanaugh, thought few expected him to oppose President Donald Trump’s choice when it actually came time to vote on the nominee.
In a series of 8 tweets and counting on Monday, Paul said “after meeting Judge Kavanaugh and reviewing his record, I have decided to support his nomination. No one wil lever compeltely agree with a nominee (unless, of course, you are the nominee). Each nominee, however, must be judged on the totality of their views and character.”
While still being concerned about Kavanaugh’s record “on warrantless bulk collection of data,” he came away from their conversation at least being able to hope the prospective justices “will be more open to a Fourth Amandment that protects digital records and property.”
“My conversation with Judge Kavanaugh reinforces my belief that he will evaluate cases before the Supreme Court from a textual and originalist point of view,” Paul continued. “I believe he will carefully adhere to the COnstitution and will take his job to protect individual liberty carefully.”
Paul’s endorsement gaveKavanaugh a boost as he prepared to sit down Monday afternoon with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of a handful of Democratic senators seen as potential swing votes in the confirmation fight.
Manchin has said he’s interested in Kavanaugh’s views on the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The senator has also asked West Virginia residents to send him questions for the meeting.
Manchin was one of only three Democrats who voted to confirm Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota were the others. All three are up for re-election in states Trump easily won in 2016.
Republicans have a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate. With the absence of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is fighting brain cancer, they cannot afford to lose a single Republican vote if all Democrats vote “no.”
Paul concluded his series of tweets by saying, “On issues such as property rights and reining in the administrative state, Judge Kavanaugh has a strong record and showed a deep commitment during our meeting. … His views on due process and mens rea show a thoughtful approach to the law and its applications. His views on war powers and separation of powers are encouraging”
“Finally, his strong defenses of the First and Second Amendments in landmark cases show someone who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo and will fight with backbone. Judge Kavanaugh will have my support and my vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court,” Paul said.