Senate Dems in Trump states take measured stance on Kavanaugh

Glen Mclaughlin
July 11, 2018

Democrats are voicing alarm about what the new justice could mean for charged issues such as abortion rights and gay rights.

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

"President Trump with the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh has fulfilled two of his campaign promises - first to undo women's reproductive freedom and second to undo the ACA, ' Schumer told CBS" 'This Morning.' 'So I will oppose him with everything I've got'.

Trump planned to announce his pick Monday night. Trump's fellow Republicans hold a 51-49 Senate majority, leaving them little margin for error.

Trump a year ago appointed Neil Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. It is unclear whether Senator John McCain, a Republican, will vote as he is undergoing brain cancer treatment. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME, moderate Republicans both - were coy when asked on Tuesday for their thoughts on Kavanaugh.

Although Trump has said he would appoint judges to overturn the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Collins said on CNN Sunday she would not support a candidate who "demonstrated hostility" toward the landmark ruling.

"This was, in some cases, quite literally a fill-in-the-blank opposition to the nominee", said McConnell, who in 2016 refused to fill the Supreme Court seat opened by Justice Antonin Scalia's death until after President Barack Obama had left office.

Another Democrat representing a conservative state, Doug Jones (Ala.), was not in the Senate to vote on Gorsuch. It will feature cable and digital advertising in states including Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia. There is a small contingent of Democrats from states that Trump won in 2016 who face narrow paths to reelection this fall.

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.

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At the White House late Monday, Trump called Kavanaugh a "brilliant jurist" who has "devoted his life to public service".

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.

Trump's preoccupation with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference suggests he was undoubtedly "thrilled" to learn that Kavanaugh believed that similar investigations tend to be burdens on the presidency.

Much of the groundwork for a successful confirmation comes in private meetings that the nominee will have with individual senators in the coming weeks.

The nominee also pointed out that his legal clerks have been mostly women. Feinstein is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

The liberal advocacy group Demand Justice will spend $5 million on ads through September and began airing spots Thursday in ME and Alaska aimed at pressuring Collins and Murkowski.

As promised, Trump made his pick from a list of more than two dozen potential nominees drawn up with the help from conservative legal activists at The Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation. The speakers say the nominee poses a threat to abortion rights and health care protections.

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.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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