Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Patty Murray and Sen. Barbara Boxer slammed Sen. Scott Brown on a conference call for his statement in last night’s debate that Justice Antonin Scalia was his “model Supreme Court justice.”
Scalia is considered one of the conservative members of the court. Brown, meanwhile, is running for re-election in the very blue state of Massachusetts, where he has worked hard to portray himself as a centrist and an “independent” who is not beholden to party leaders and is willing to work across party lines.
But his praise of Scalia at Monday night’s debate with his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren gave Democrats an opening to tie him to more far right members of his party.
“Every now and then, voters get a window into the true views of a candidate … this was one of those moments,” said Boxer on the call.
With that statement, she said, Brown “aligned himself with the intellectual leader of the far right of the Supreme Court.”
Murray said it spoke volumes about what kind of Supreme Court justices Brown would vote to confirm if a vacancy should come up while he was in office.
“Confirming the Supreme Court justices is the one of most important jobs of a Senator,” Murray said, criticizing Brown for having opposed the nomination of Justice Elena Kagan.
“Justice Scalia’s votes on the court are ones that move this country backwards,” Murray said, “and we need Senators who understand that and will support justices who will move this country forward.”
Scalia, when he was nominated, was confirmed unanimously by a bipartisan senate, 98-0. Asked whether that negated his argument, Murray said: “That was a different time.”
She pointed to the fact that Massachusetts’ senior Senator, John Kerry, who was among those who voted to confirm Scalia, later told the Associated Press that he regretted the vote. Asked in 2004, he regreted the vote, “Given what he has done on a number of cases.” At the time, Kerry said, he wasn’t aware of “such a level of ideology and partisanship.”
Democrats have worked hard to paint Brown as far right and too “extreme” for Massachusetts’ largely liberal electorate, as the race between he and Warren has remained surprisingly tight.