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Ex-Nixon aide John Dean warns of a high court too deferential to president
Seung Min Kim, The Washington Post Published 4:43 pm PDT, Friday, September 7, 2018
WASHINGTON – John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel who played a crucial role in the Watergate scandal, testified Friday that confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a justice will lead to the “most presidential-powers friendly” Supreme Court in the modern age.
The sharp criticism was laid out in Dean’s remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the last day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. More than two dozen witnesses testified in favor of and against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick.
Dean argued in his testimony that conservatives have “slowly done a 180-degree turn” on executive power and that a Supreme Court that is overly deferential to the president is “deeply troubling,” with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate.
“Under Judge Kavanaugh’s recommendation, if a president shot someone in cold blood on Fifth Avenue, that president could not be prosecuted while in office,” Dean told senators, a reference to Trump’s oft-repeated campaign line that he could act that way and not lose support.
Dean elaborated on his prepared testimony to the committee, in which he said: “There is much to fear from an unchecked president who is inclined to abuse his powers. That is a fact I can attest to from personal experience.”