Kavanaugh's paper trail becomes central to nomination fight in Senate

Leroy Wright
July 11, 2018

Republicans hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate, so they can approve Trump's nominee without any Democratic support as long as they don't lose more than one vote.

Kavanaugh will be on Capitol Hill Monday, meeting with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME, moderate Republicans both - were coy when asked on Tuesday for their thoughts on Kavanaugh. Both senators have been non-committal toward Kavanaugh's nomination.

Collins praised Kavanaugh's "impressive credentials and extensive experience" but promised a "careful, thorough vetting", while Murkowski pledged to conduct a "rigorous and exacting" review. McConnell, who called Kavanaugh a "superb choice", hasn't explicitly said whether his goal is to complete a confirmation before the November midterm elections.

Legal watchdog Fix the Court, represented by American Oversight, filed complaints in federal court Tuesday to seek documents from Kavanaugh's previous government service - including his work on Special Counsel Kenneth Starr's team in the 1990s that investigated President Bill Clinton, and his time as White House staff secretary from 2003 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has yet to make a public statement regarding its stance on Kavanaugh's nomination.

Stabenow said in a Monday statement that the vacancy "represents a very consequential moment for our country where we can chose to make progress on so many important issues for MI families or we can turn the clock back".

Kavanaugh has also touched on the subject of Roe itself on a couple of occasions, but without presenting clear-cut proof of his legal position.

The DNC deleted its initial tweet with the incorrect picture and sent out another tweet with the correct one, but not before they were mocked by several conservative reporters and the office of Sen.

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The vice president said Kavanaugh's qualifications would be the key to his success. When "Notorious RBG" said that at her 1993 confirmation hearing, Democrats cheered.

"I applaud President Trump for his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court", Ivey said in a statement. Democrats who were invited but declined included Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a top contender for her party's 2020 presidential nomination.

Among Kavanaugh's fiercest opponents is California Senator Kamala Harris, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee and who pledged to oppose his nomination, saying, "Whether or not the Supreme Court enforces the spirit of the words 'Equal Justice Under Law, ' is determined by the individuals who sit on that Court".

"President Trump said he was going to put somebody on the court who was going to overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal and take away preexisting conditions and that's what he's got", Sen.

If Democrats can convince voters in red states that Kavanaugh is a threat to Obama-era health care, they might be able to peel off the one or two GOP votes needed to sink Kavanaugh's nomination. The Judicial Crisis Network said Monday night it is launching "Confirm Kavanaugh" - a $1.4 million ad buy on national cable and digital platforms in Alabama as well as Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Demand Justice, a liberal group formed to counter JCN's influence, has not committed to a particular dollar figure but has placed ads in Alaska and ME targeting Murkowski and Collins. "I look forward to following the U.S. Senate confirmation process".

NOM President Brian Brown said: "Judge Kavanaugh is a constitutionalist who believes that the constitution means what it says and must be interpreted according to what the framers intended when it was crafted". Ben Wikler, Washington director for MoveOn, promised a "massive grass-roots mobilization" akin to the effort that met the GOP's ACA repeal push previous year.

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