What to expect in the Supreme Court confirmation battle

Faith Castro
July 11, 2018

Advocacy groups are targeting five senators as pivotal in the confirmation fight.

President Donald Trump has chosen a solidly conservative, pro-life judge for the Supreme Court as he shifts the highest court ever further to the right.

Before Trump walked out to make his prime time announcement Monday night, a parade of conservative luminaries and Administration officials filed into the East Room of the White House to sit on gilded folding chairs set out in a wide arch around a lectern.

Should the Democratic bloc hold and either Republican moderate defect, the GOP will not be able to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterm elections in November.

The White House had floated a list of four finalists, but multiple stories Tuesday suggest that President Trump's pick of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court was a no-brainer.

With Kavanaugh, Trump is replacing a swing vote on the nine-member court with a staunch conservative. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is battling brain cancer and has not been back to the Capitol since December.

Democrats have turned their attention to pressuring two Republicans, Sens.

The nominee's fate may rest with two Republican senators who back abortion rights, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

In 2006, Kavanaugh said he would respect Roe v. Wade, but Rabhan said that did not assuage her concern. As the day progressed, other potential nominees, including Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge were spotted in their homes out of state.

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Republicans will target three Democrats facing re-election in conservative states where Trump won big majorities in the 2016 election - Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of in - to support Kavanaugh. He was not confirmed until three years later, with Democrats saying he was too partisan and inexperienced.

The Federal Communications Commission this year repealed the Obama-era net neutrality rule last month, angering supporters who fear internet companies will now slow down speeds on certain sites in hopes of charging the companies that run those sites more money for faster access.

"President Trump has made a superb selection", McConnell, who represents Kentucky, said ahead of the encounter.

So I propose that the Democrats offer the following compromise: Each Senate Democrat will pledge either to vote yes for Kavanaugh's confirmation - or, if voting no, to first publicly name at least two clearly better candidates whom a Republican president might realistically have nominated instead (not an easy task).

McConnell and Trump were rewarded this year with a string of 5-4 decisions in which Gorsuch cast votes favorable to the president and the GOP. That James Bopp, one of the conservative legal architects behind the anti-Roe campaignwas opposed to Kavanaugh is an interesting twist in a nominating process that has been beset by indecision. In exchange for this act of good will, Democrats will insist that Kavanaugh answer all fair questions at his confirmation hearing. Gorsuch met with almost three-quarters of the Senate in advance of his hearings. Several of Kavanaugh's most important ideas and arguments - such as his powerful defense of presidential authority to oversee federal bureaucrats and his skepticism about newfangled attacks on the property rights of criminal defendants - have found their way into Supreme Court opinions.

As an appellate judge, Kavanaugh has heard numerous cases on complex energy and environmental regulations.

The Judiciary Committee need not approve the nomination for it to advance.

Advocacy groups for and against Kavanaugh planned to spend millions of dollars in advertising to try to sway lawmakers.

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