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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette U.S. Sen. Todd Young walks through Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island after having lunch Tuesday. Behind Young is his northeast Indiana director, Allen County Councilman Justin Busch.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:00 am

Young stops just short of endorsing Kavanaugh

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Democrat Joe Donnelly is not the only U.S. senator from Indiana who has yet to say how he will vote on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Republican Todd Young stopped short of endorsing Kavanaugh's nomination during a Fort Wayne visit Tuesday – although just barely. 

“I'm strongly leaning toward supporting Kavanaugh,” Young said in an interview while dining at Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island downtown. “I've gone to the extent of delivering a floor speech about what an exceptional nominee he is, laid out his credentials, how I embrace his method of construing the Constitution and applying the law to the facts of a given case as opposed to injecting his own policy positions or preferences into the cases before him.

“With all that said, I am reserving final judgment until the conclusion of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings,” Young said. 

He also said: “In the state of Indiana, it would probably be most popular if I just say without exception, unconditionally, I'm supporting Judge Kavanaugh. I can say almost without exception and almost without condition I will be supporting Judge Kavanaugh.”

Donnelly's Republican challenger in the Nov. 6 election, Mike Braun, has repeatedly criticized him for not divulging whether he intends to vote to confirm Kavanaugh, a federal appellate judge for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Young, on the other hand, chided Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee who vowed to oppose President Donald Trump's justice nominee.

“They came out publicly, I think inappropriately, and indicated they would not support Kavanaugh prior to the beginning of the hearing,” he said.

Their demands for the release of more documents from Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush administration has unnecessarily extended the hearing process, Young said.

“I like an open, transparent process, but if one's mind is already made up on the front end, it seems inconsistent to then require more documents,” he said.

Young, who moved from Bloomington to Greenwood this summer, later on Tuesday visited Cyclone Social, a social media marketing agency next door to Coney Island.

A dozen employees sat at their desks in the open-floor office, answering questions the first-term senator had about their backgrounds, education and reasons for joining Cyclone Social.

Some workers said they enjoy the face-to-face collaboration at the company. One said she had tired of “meetings all day long” at a former employer. Another said he had felt “stifled” by the cubicles at a ex-workplace. 

Young was asked what he likes best about his job.

“I really like solving problems – or working with others to solve problems. So I'm really like a lot of you, actually,” he replied.

“I'm a concept guy,” he said. “I read voraciously and like talking to people, and I'm pretty good at identifying challenges that need to be either mitigated or solved.”

Young went to Kendallville on Tuesday morning to visit the Impact Institute, which provides vocational and adult education programs for a group of northeast Indiana school districts. 

bfrancisco@jg.net