Jimmy Carter: Brett Kavanaugh 'unfit' to serve on US supreme court, former US president says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Getty

Jimmy Carter has branded newly-confirmed judge Brett Kavanaugh “unfit” to serve on the US supreme court.

The former president told an audience at Emory University in Atlanta on Wednesday that Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation by congress earlier this month was a “very serious mistake”.

“I thought that whether or not he attempted to rape that woman, whether or not, I thought he was temperamentally unfit to serve on the Supreme Court because of his outburst during the hearing,” Mr Carter was recorded by an audience member as saying.

"And I think most of the American people were not in favour of him being on the Supreme Court, but he's there now. And because the Senate is quite subservient to Donald Trump, they're afraid of his displeasure."

Mr Carter, who became only the fourth president to complete his term without nominating a Supreme Court judge, added of Mr Kavanaugh’s performance in front of the senate judiciary committee last month: “I saw him lose his cool.”

Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings were roiled by allegations of decades-old misconduct from three women, including California college professor Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to the committee that a drunken Mr Kavanaugh assaulted her while both were in high school.

The judge has angrily denied all allegations.

Mr Carter’s comments came ahead of a new poll which suggests just one in four Americans think Mr Kavanaugh was completely honest when he gave sworn testimony in congress last month, with Republicans and Democrats holding starkly distinct opinions of his credibility.

Overall, 39 per cent said they believe Mr Kavanaugh was mostly honest but was hiding something when he testified. Another 31 per cent said he was largely lying, and 25 per cent said he was totally truthful.

A combative Mr Kavanaugh denied Ms Ford's testimony to the committee that he sexually assaulted her at a 1980s high school gathering when they were teenagers, and he rebutted classmates' descriptions of him as a heavy drinker.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey also found that Donald Trump, Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the FBI each earned approval from 32 per cent or less.

Tellingly, however, six in 10 Republicans, including 57 per cent of men and 64 per cent of women, said they think Mr Kavanaugh was entirely truthful when he appeared before the judiciary committee.

Additional reporting by AP