Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to derail the President’s second nominee for the Supreme Court — and his plan hinges on support from the American public.
“Let me say this. I believe if we can prove to the American people, which I believe is truly the case, that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women’s reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions, we will get a majority of the Senate to vote for it,” Schumer told CBS after being asked how he might stop Brett Kavanaugh from taking the bench. “Obviously, even if we had every Democrat, we need two Republicans. But if we can make that case, we will get a majority.”
With Republicans maintaining a 51-49 majority in the Senate, Schumer would need to convince at least two conservatives to defect from the party line. But as POLITICO notes, Sen. John McCain’s absence means that the majority can be scrapped with a single Republican vote against Kavanaugh.
However, garnering the support of every Democrat may prove a challenge in and of itself.
‘Several Democratic senators are up for reelection in states where Trump won in 2016,’ writes POLITICO, ‘including some where the president won by a wide margin.’
Last year, Democrats in precariously red territory broke with their colleagues to approve the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Although Kavanaugh’s reputation on certain issues, like LGBT rights, remains uncertain, his critics point to the list which brought him to President Trump’s attention. Along with 25 other nominees, Kavanaugh was given the green light by the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation—organizations which seek to overturn Roe v. Wade and strip down the Affordable Care Act.
A Kavanaugh appointment’s stoked fears among conservatives, too, some of whom feel he isn’t reliably on the right. A former Virginia attorney general blasted Kavanaugh’s dissent in a recent case involving a teenage immigrant who’d sought an abortion while in federal custody.
Even though Kavanaugh departed from the majority—which ruled in favor of allowing the procedure to proceed—his opinion was condemned as insufficiently conservative in contrast to the dissent of another judge.
Democrats fear that Kavanaugh—no matter what reservations the right may have—could help Republicans take down Roe v. Wade, the ACA and the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry in every state. Schumer suggests the risk isn’t worth taking.
“I don’t think he would have been put on this list had he not been one of these hard right judges. And the two issues I mentioned are important. There are several others,” said Schumer, who referred to writings Kavanaugh penned on why presidents should be excepted from criminal investigations. “With the Mueller situation, with the overreach of presidential power, we shouldn’t put him on the bench. And then, on gun rights, on LGBTQ rights, on environmental rights, he’s way to the right of the American people.”