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'This Is A Moral Moment:' Sen. Booker's Crusade Against Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is coming out against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying if you don't oppose the judge, you are "complicit in evil."

What's behind the heated rhetoric?

As CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reports, Booker appears to be positioning himself to run for president in 2020 with a call to defeat Kavanaugh.

"You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong, or you are fighting against it," he said, trying mightily to outdo progressive icons Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and others by invoking the Bible in passionate attempt to derail President Donald Trump's pick for the court.

"I'm here to call on folk to understand that in a moral moment, there is no neutral. In a moral moment, there is no bystander," he added.

Speaking at the press conference with religious and political leaders, Booker insisted "this is not a political moment, this is not a partisan moment; this is a moral moment."

Hogwash, political experts say.

"For him to say it's not political, it's moral is something that many people would suggest is absolutely not true," said Jeanne Zaino, a professor of political science at Iona College.

She called Booker's comments "inflamed rhetoric" – words that will have little effect in convincing red state Democrats to vote against Kavanaugh.

"In the end, Democrats can do very little on this nomination, which is why this is more about people like Cory Booker setting themselves up to appeal to the progressive left in advance of 2020, where he is… one of the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination."

"Doesn't matter what Senator Booker said, this is pure politics. He's found his #MeToo moment," political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said. "Kavanaugh could be a stick figure in a field, as far as this is concerned. This is Cory Booker's direct shot at Donald Trump to get in line to be president of the United States."

"He has shown us who he is," Booker said. "In a moral moment, will we do nothing?"

Sheinkopf said this is Booker's attempt to elbow others out of the way, including U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- N.Y. But she has one advantage: her Senate seat is up this year, so she's free to run for anything in 2020.

Booker's seat, however, is up in 2020. Whether he decides to run for one race or both simultaneously remains to be seen.

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