Red State Senate Dems Face Difficult Balancing Act over SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Red State Democrats
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Red-state Senate Democrats face an increasingly difficult balancing act over whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh or stick with the Democrat party’s leftist base.

Several Senate Democrats, many whom are facing difficult 2018 midterm election challengers, did not say whether they would back the Supreme Court nominee. Many pivoted to health care and protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) struck a hard line for his Democratic caucus, arguing that no Senate Democrat should vote for Kavanaugh because he might rule to overturn Obamacare as well as Roe v. Wade. Schumer said in a statement on Monday:

This nomination could alter the balance of the court in favor of powerful special interests and against working families for a generation, and would take away labor, civil, and human rights from millions of Americans. We cannot let that happen. If we can successfully block this nomination, it could lead to a more independent, moderate selection that both parties could support.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), who recently won a special runoff election against Judge Roy Moore, said in a statement on Monday:

Tonight’s announcement is only a first step. A thorough vetting of Judge Kavanaugh’s body of work will be critical for the Senate to fulfill its shared responsibility—which I take very seriously. I will be diligent in measuring the record and in undertaking an independent review.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who faces off against state auditor and rancher Matt Rosendale in the 2018 midterm elections, said on Monday:

I take my constitutional duty to screen the president’s nominees very seriously, and in the coming weeks, I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh. Montanans have a lot on the line with this next Supreme Court justice, so I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put politics aside and do what’s best for this nation.

Rosendale asked Sen. Tester in a statement on Monday whether he supports the people of Montana or the far left, saying:

Jon Tester now has to decide; does he side with the far left in Washington or with Montana? I’m a straight shooter, I’ll stand with the people of Montana and President Trump to support Kavanaugh’s nomination because there is no doubt that he will defend our Constitution and protect our Montana way of life.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who hopes to defeat Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the midterm election, said he will “evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s record, legal qualifications, judicial philosophy and particularly, his views on healthcare.”

The West Virginia Democrat then emphasized in his statement that he is concerned about West Virginians with pre-existing conditions and how potential cases on Obamacare and health care may affect those Affordable Care Act (ACA) protections.

Morrisey said in a statement on Monday:

This evening, Sen. Manchin snubbed President Trump’s invitation to the White House, lining up with Chuck Schumer and Washington liberals. I hope Sen. Manchin will drop the act and put aside the interests of the Washington Democrat establishment, and do the right thing for the people of West Virginia. The men and women of West Virginia urge Sen. Manchin to stand up for the Constitution, and our West Virginia conservative values, and support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), facing a competitive election against Florida Gov. Rick Scott in the 2018 midterms, said that he looks forward to discussing issues such as “protecting women’s rights, guaranteeing access to health care for those with pre-existing conditions and protecting the right to vote.”

“I’ll make my decision after that,” Nelson added.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who faces off against Rep. Lou Barletta for the U.S. Senate seat, came out early against any potential Supreme Court nominee on Monday.

Sen. Casey said in a statement:

I will oppose the nomination the President will make tonight because it represents a corrupt bargain with the far Right, big corporations, and Washington special interests.

Congressman Barletta said in a statement on Monday:

I applaud President Donald Trump for nominating Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is one of the nation’s most respected conservative legal minds and has a strong record of respecting the rule of law, as laid out by the Constitution.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) faces a tough race against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and signaled that she will conduct a review of Kavanaugh, just like she did with now-Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

“An exhaustive and fair process took place for Justice Gorsuch, who I supported, and it should and must take place again now,” Heitkamp said. “And that’s the kind of leadership North Dakotans expect from their senators.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said on Monday regarding President Trump’s Supreme Court pick:

Will Judge Kavanaugh respect rulings to uphold the ACA? Will he safeguard ALL Americans’ civil rights? Will he protect women’s freedom to make their own reproductive health care decisions? Will he be independent of this President?

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) said in a statement on Monday:

As I have said, part of my job as Senator includes thoroughly considering judicial nominations, including to the Supreme Court. I will take the same approach as I have previously for a Supreme Court vacancy. Following the president’s announcement, I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Indiana Senate Republican nominee Mike Braun, who will face off against Donnelly in the 2018 midterms, said, “I am sure Senator Donnelly will eventually say that he will vote for him, because it is an election year.”

Braun added, “But I can immediately say without hesitation that I would support this nomination and I hope the Senate moves quickly to confirm the President’s choice.”


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