Democrats React to Nomination of Judge Kavanaugh

July 19, 2018

When President Donald Trump announced earlier this month he would nominate Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Democratic lawmakers and progressive activists reacted with anger and predictions that his potential confirmation represented the destruction of the United States Constitution.

The Senate Republican Communications Center compiled clips of Democratic senators stating their opposition to Kavanaugh, some stated before Kavanaugh was even announced as Trump's nominee.

"This mash up speaks volumes to the irrational and even hysterical response from the left – much of it even before Judge Kavanaugh was nominated," said Antonia Ferrier, SRCC staff director.

Democratic senators who are up for reelection in 2018 and hail from states that Trump won in 2016 will face pressure from their own party to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation. The pressure might not be enough, as some of the red-state senators have come out and released tentative statements of support for Kavanaugh. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) praised Kavanaugh for having "all the right qualities" but stopped short of giving a full endorsement.

Kavanaugh, 53, was considered more of an establishment candidate. He clerked for Kennedy and graduated from Yale Law School. He has strong ties to the Bush family and worked as a lawyer for Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr during the Clinton presidency. Since 2006, Kavanaugh has been a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kennedy announced in June he would retire, effective July 31, giving Trump the opportunity to make two appointments in two years to the nation's highest court. The vacancy sets up a bitter confirmation fight right before the midterm elections, where Republicans only have a single vote majority in the Senate.

Despite the slim majority, Senate Republicans only need a simple majority to confirm him after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) changed the rules to allow it in the case of Supreme Court justice confirmations. McConnell's move followed the precedent set by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), when he eliminated the filibuster for judicial nominees and presidential appointments back in 2013.

Former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) will shepherd the nominee through the confirmation process, Politico reported.