- Republican leaders expressed confidence they will be able to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been embroiled by allegations of sexual misconduct.
- A hearing is set for Thursday, where Kavanaugh will testify once again in an attempt to clear his name against accusations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl while he was in high school in the early 1980s.
WASHINGTON – Republicans are bullish on their chances of confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, signalling the vote will come soon after the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday to feature testimony from both the nominee and the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were both teenagers, Christine Blasey Ford.
Senators were told during their weekly policy lunch on Tuesday that they should expect to work through the weekend to process Kavanaugh’s confirmation, according to multiple Republicans.
Republican leaders showed confidence on Tuesday, vigorously defending Kavanaugh during their weekly press conference. There is reason to be confident, as some of the Republican senators on the fence about Kavanaugh and those who requested a vote be delayed when the allegations first surfaced have maintained a positive outlook on the nominee.
“I enter it again with very positive feelings about the nominee and know this is a process that needs to be handled in an appropriate way,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said. “So I don’t enter it with negative thoughts. But it’s important enough to me that I watch the entire process take place.”
President Donald Trump excoriated Democrats for their handling of the process on Tuesday, telling reporters in New York that Kavanaugh is being smeared by Democrats and the lawyers representing Ford.
“I think it is horrible what the Democrats have done,” Trump said. “It is a con game, they are really con artists. They are trying to convince – they don’t bite, they don’t believe it themselves. They know he is a high quality person, they don’t believe it, it is just resist and obstruct.”
And Kavanaugh himself said he would not withdraw from the nomination. In a letter to the Republican and Democratic heads of the Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh said he would not bow out and would clear his name in the Thursday hearing.
“I have devoted my career to serving the public and the cause of justice, and particularly to promoting the equality and dignity of women,” he wrote in the letter. “Women from every phase of my life have come forward to attest to my character. I am grateful to them. I owe it to them, and to my family, to defend my integrity and my name.”
Republicans feel urgency to confirm Kavanaugh
Republicans feel moving Kavanaugh’s confirmation through in a speedy fashion is necessary for a number of reasons:
- From a political perspective, many Republicans worry failure could drastically hurt their chances of keeping their already slim majority in the Senate, as well as affecting Republican turnout up and down the ballot.
- In addition, the Supreme Court’s next term begins on Monday, increasing the urgency for Republicans to place Kavanaugh on the bench.
- Confirming Kavanaugh before the term begins would avoid potentially controversial split decisions, like those seen when Republicans held open the seat left vacant when Justice Antonin Scalia died in early 2016.
And Republicans are pushing ahead no matter what, confident they will be able to get him on the bench in time.
“I’m confident we’re going to win,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “I’m confident he will be confirmed in the near future.”
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