Supreme Court Nomination
On Monday the president announced his nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy to be left by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy – Brett Kavanaugh. Mr. Kavanaugh is currently a federal judge for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, considered one of the most important courts in the country because it hears many cases related to federal laws and regulations. For more information about Mr. Kavanaugh, see the White House statement about him and Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee? (PBS News Hour, 7/9/18).
The Senate will now consider whether to confirm Mr. Kavanaugh. Given the expected absence of Senator McCain (R-AZ) due to illness, 50 Republican and 49 Democratic Senators are expected to vote. Only a simple majority of 50 votes will be needed for confirmation because the Senate no longer permits filibusters for judicial nominations. (To break a filibuster, 60 votes are needed.) Some advocates for abortion rights are hoping that either Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) or Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will decide to oppose the nomination based on their support for a woman’s “right to choose,” first established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade. If all the Republican Senators stick together, however, Kavanaugh should be confirmed. See Democrats Have Few Tactical Options to Fight Supreme Court Pick (Roll Call, 7/10/18).