Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Would Brett Kavanaugh overturn Roe? Supreme Court pick’s record offers mixed clues

Would Brett Kavanaugh overturn Roe? Supreme Court pick’s record offers mixed clues

This is one of the most consequential decisions any senator will make, and in evaluating Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, I will thoroughly and thoughtfully research his positions, record, and judicial temperament - but I will do so with some skepticism, because the president has made clear, both on the campaign trail and after being sworn in, the type of Supreme Court Justice he would seek to nominate with regard to important issues like a woman's right to choose, the Affordable Care Act and the limits of executive power. His confirmation now rests in the hands of a narrowly split Senate, where defections from Trump's own party could sink his chances. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who have shown concern in the past about preserving access to abortion rights.

Bob Salera, a campaign spokesman for Senate Republicans, said Casey has "given up any pretense of being a moderate voice" by opposing Trump's nominee sight unseen.

"Now the tough job for all of us is to go to work. We've got some due diligence", Murkowski told reporters. That's Republicans and Democrats alike.

If Democrats want to block the conservative judge, they must vote en masse against him and pick up at least one Republican defector. The effort has flooded their respective home zones with anti-Kavanaugh advertisements meant to foment public pressure on the two lawmakers to vote against the nominee. The messaging initially centered on the future of abortion rights in the US under a court with Kavanaugh on it. Collins has said she will not vote for a nominee who would overturn the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision, Roe versus Wade, that legalized abortion nationwide.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer charged that Trump "chose the candidate who he thought would best protect him from the Mueller investigation" while Cory Booker of New Jersey warned darkly that Trump "chose the one person that has written that he should have immunity from any investigation and from any kind of prosecution it might result in". "I do not apply an ideological test to their personal views". "Worst of all, in so doing, he cultivated a theory that ultimately led Chief Justice John Roberts to uphold the mandate".

That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which reversed the ruling in 2014. I am inclined to take him at his word that he would find a nominee who meets his criteria - but his standards and mine are vastly different on these topics.

"Throughout legal circles, he is considered a judge's judge, a true thought leader among his peers", Trump said of Kavanaugh.

He's been called the "Forrest Gump of Republican politics" by Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., because of his placement at key moments in recent political history.

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Assuming Kavanaugh's candidacy receives support in the Senate Judiciary Committee, he would need a simple majority of Senate votes to be placed on the high court.

But senior Republicans have publicly dismissed this possibility.

He says: "I'm pretty sure who it's going to be, so I don't want to give something up".

The G.O.P. could be buffered by defections from the other side of the aisle. It's unclear what evidence there is for that, other than Trump's promise to appoint anti-abortion judges.

Meanwhile, Republicans are hoping Kavanaugh can earn bipartisan support and are seeking to woo Democrats up for re-election in states that Trump won easily in 2016, such as Joe Donnelly of in and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Manchin emphasized the importance of the Affordable Care Act in his decision.

Heitkamp was more evasive. "What he's revealed so far does not reflect America's values", she said on MSNBC, referring to his dissent in the ruling that forced federal immigration officials to allow a undocumented minor to receive an abortion. But almost all Senate Democrats and many Democratic voters are expected to oppose Trump's nominee.

By contrast, Senate Republicans were in the majority in 2016, when McConnell and his GOP colleagues blocked President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, for more than nine months, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

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