Since his July nomination to the United States Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has caused major political tension to an already polarized Congress. If approved, Kavanaugh would replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired on July 31. He would also be President Trump’s second Supreme Court Justice appointed after Justice Neil Gorsuch.
While Justice Kennedy was a swing vote for many decisions, Judge Kavanaugh’s record indicates he is a loyal, hard-line conservative. Appointing Judge Kavanaugh would shift the Supreme Court to having five conservative justices and four liberal justices. An imbalance in political power could mean the overturning of major case decisions in United States history, such as “Roe v. Wade” or “Obergefell v. Hodges,” and set a powerful precedent for the future.
Over the last days, Judge Kavanaugh has undergone intense questioning from Democrats. The Democratic Party is hoping to stall the vote on his nomination, and eventually have enough support to reject President Trump’s pick.
Several attempts by Democrats to delay the vote on Kavanaugh have been recently made in the Senate Judiciary Committee. On Sept. 13, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, began the meeting to schedule the committee’s vote on Kavanaugh by motioning for an adjournment. He wanted “to make sure we have the time and information we need, the documents, the facts, the witnesses in order to proceed on the Kavanaugh nomination.”
“This nomination is going to be tainted, it will be stained by process…[it has] broken the traditions of this committee,” said Sen. Blumenthal. He continued by remarking that the nomination process is being rushed by the Republican Party in a “highly partisan and unfortunately failed way.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, would soon after request additional documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary during the George W. Bush’s administration.
When the committee voted on the request, it was denied 11-10. Feinstein remarked that Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, was not being thorough through the appointment process, avoiding looking at Kavanaugh’s full record. She later stated it was a “devastating blow to transparency.”
The last attempt to stall the meeting was made by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN. She filed a subpoena, requesting the 100,000 documents being held by the Trump administration on Kavanaugh via executive privilege. Like Sen. Feinstein’s request, Sen. Klobuchar’s subpoena was denied 11-10.
After hours of deliberating, the Judiciary Committee plans to vote on Judge Kavanaugh on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
Depending on the results of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, could potentially start floor debate in the Senate on Sept. 21. If the process is hurried, the final vote on Judge Kavanaugh could be as soon as that week. With a majority-Republican committee, Judge Kavanaugh’s approval is almost certain. Senators on the committee are expected to vote based on party lines.
If the Judiciary Committee has been a good indicator for the final vote, Democrats will keep attempting to stall until they can sway public opinion and review more evidence. This will be hard to accomplish, given both houses of Congress are Republican-dominated.