- Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court
- Kavanaugh has a long history in Republican politics, which could come back to bite him during the hearings
- The Republicans have the power to confirm Kavanaugh without a single vote from the Democrats
Donald Trump had a list of 25 potential Supreme Court picks. Then he narrowed it down to four. Then, during prime-time on Monday night, he announced his nomination to the world: Brett Kavanaugh.
Senate leader Mitch McConnell had warned against nominating Kavanaugh, a DC Circuit Judge and longtime Republican insider, pointing to the long paper trail attached to the nominee.
Kavanaugh has been dubbed the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” because of his involvement in almost every contentious political issue over the last two decades. He was involved in the Starr Report, which recommended the impeachment of Bill Clinton; He played a role in the Florida recount, which handed George W. Bush the 2000 election; and he led the investigation into the death of Clinton aide Vince Foster, which fueled a flurry of murder conspiracies in conservative circles.
Kavanaugh has been dubbed the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” because of his involvement in almost every contentious political issue over the last two decades.
Brace yourselves. This could get ugly.
|Odds Kavanaugh is confirmed before the 2018 Midterms||3-17|
|Over/Under on Yea votes Kavanaugh receives||53.5|
If Neil Gorsuch’s nomination is anything to go by, the Republicans should have a pretty easy time confirming Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination. Gorsuch was confirmed by a vote of 54-45, with the approval of every Republican Senator and three red-state Democrats.
The Democrats are significantly more worried about Kavanaugh’s nomination since it will shift the court in a rightward direction. Gorsuch replaced Antonin Scalia, a conservative for a conservative. Kavanaugh will be replacing Anthony Kennedy, a conservative for a moderate. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, John Roberts will become the median Justice, handing the conservatives a clear 5-4 majority.
With the filibuster option off the table, the Republicans can confirm Kavanaugh without a single vote from the Democrats.
With the filibuster option off the table, the Republicans can confirm Kavanaugh without a single vote from the Democrats. All the Dems can do is pray for disunity among the Republicans. That could occur if something damning is revealed during the confirmation process. But as it stands, Kavanaugh isn’t under much threat.
Democrats that may vote to confirm Kavanaugh
|Democratic Senator||Odds To Vote Yea|
|Joe Manchin (D – West Virginia)||3-7|
|Joe Donnelly (D – Indiana)||3-7|
|Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota)||2-3|
|Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri)||1-1|
While the majority of Democrats in the Senate will certainly vote against Kavanaugh, there are a handful of red-state Dems who may feel compelled to break with their party.
Three Democrats — Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Heidi Heitkamp — voted to confirm Gorsuch last year, and they’ll be under pressure from their pro-Trump electorates to also confirm Kavanaugh. All three senators are up for reelection in states that Trump carried by a wide margin.
Claire McCaskill voted against Gorsuch last year, and her Republican rival has used that to relentlessly attack her. Facing a tough reelection, she may opt to confirm Kavanaugh.
Republicans that may vote against Kavanaugh
|Republican Senator||Odds To Vote Yea|
|Susan Collins (R-Maine)||1-4|
|Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)||1-3|
|Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)||1/20|
There are only two names to seriously consider here: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. The two female, pro-choice Republicans hold Kavanaugh’s fate in their hands. During his hearing for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh stated that he considered Roe v. Wade binding, but he’s since ruled in favor of abortion restrictions. Both Collins and Murkowski have stated that they will not vote to confirm a Supreme Court Justice who would vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.
The two Senators voted against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act last year, which stripped McConnell of the majority. They could conceivably do the same with Kavanaugh. However, both Collins and Murkowski voted to confirm Gorsuch and have voted in line with Trump about 80% of the time.
And then there’s Rand Paul. The Kentucky senator “expressed concerns” about Kavanaugh, but we’ve seen this all before. He did the same with the ACA repeal and tax bill, only to fall in line when it came time to vote. Nothing to see here.