(Reuters) - Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh does not belong on the high court, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Speaking to an audience of retirees in Boca Raton, Florida, Stevens, 98, said Kavanaugh's performance during a recent Senate confirmation hearing suggested he lacks the temperament for the job.
Stevens, a lifelong Republican, praised Kavanaugh and one of his rulings on a political contribution case in the 2014 book "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution."
"At that time, I thought (Kavanaugh) had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected," Stevens said at the event hosted by a Palm Beach Post reporter.
"I've changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability ... I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind."
Commentators, Stevens said, have argued that Kavanaugh's blistering testimony during a Sept. 27 hearing on sexual misconduct allegations demonstrated a potential for political bias should he serve on the Supreme Court.
Stevens said political leaders and the court have failed to repair the nation's confidence in the judicial branch's separation from the president and the legislature.
"I think it's worse, I regret to say it," he said.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation on Friday. An FBI report to the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh by California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford and former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez.
(Reporting by Bill Tarrant; Editing by Bill Berkrot)