Judge had ruled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and net neutrality rules unconstitutional

WASHINGTON– Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) pressed Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on his views and previous rulings regarding consumer protections, including his view that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is unconstitutional, his opinion on net neutrality protections, and his decisions on antitrust issues.

In 2016, Kavanaugh wrote an opinion that was later overturned by the full D.C. Circuit in which he found that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—which has helped more than 30 million consumers obtain more than $12 billion in relief—was unconstitutionally structured. The full court rejected the constitutional challenge and recognized that millions of people were devastated by the financial crisis, with about four million families losing their homes in foreclosure and even more slipping seriously behind on mortgages.

“Yesterday, you quoted Hamilton in Federalist 83, where he said: ‘The rules of legal interpretation are rules of common sense.’ [This] just doesn’t make common sense,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar also pressed Kavanaugh on his views on net neutrality—a bedrock of a fair and open internet, which is important to consumers and small businesses. But in U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC, Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion went out of its way to throw out those protections. The panel of judges appointed by presidents from both parties upheld the net neutrality rules.

“It feels to me like Congress set up the FCC and the FCC is doing their job and… they put forward these rules on net neutrality, and then you insert your judgment to say that they are unconstitutional. Tell me why I’m wrong,” Klobuchar said.

As Ranking Member of the Antitrust Subcommittee, Klobuchar has long been a leader on antitrust enforcement. In recent years, the Supreme Court has made it harder to enforce antitrust laws—just as a wave of industry consolidation has swept the country and shows no signs of slowing and annual merger filings have increased by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2016. Kavanaugh’s major antitrust opinions would have rejected challenges to mergers that majorities of the court found to be anticompetitive at a time when we need more competition, not less.

“I think we need less mergers, not more, and we need more competition,” Klobuchar said. “I’m afraid that you would move the Court even further down that [wrong] path.”

For broadcast-quality video of Klobuchar’s consumer protection-related questioning, click here.

Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over Supreme Court nominees. Prior to her time in the Senate, Klobuchar served as Hennepin County Attorney.