Judge Kavanaugh Winning Senator’s Endorsements

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By Larry Keane

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is winning the confidence of senators to become the next U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice. Last week, Sen. Ran Paul (R-Ky.) announced his support for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying he arrived at his decision noting that justices should be scrutinized on the “totality of their views, character, and opinions.”

The announcement came as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) defied his party’s leadership to ignore meeting requests with Judge Kavanaugh, the first Democrat to do so. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pressuring senators to not lend credibility to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and remain publicly neutral as he seeks to stall, and eventually sink, the nomination. Sen. Schumer’s latest tactic is to demand all documents related to Judge Kavanaugh’s tenure as White House Staff Secretary to President George W. Bush, which could ultimately number more than a million pages of material. Sen. Schumer claims that the Senate will need more time to pore over the material – somewhere in the neighborhood of after the November mid-term elections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is determined, though, to press for a vote before the Supreme Court’s next session starts in October.

The Dam Is Cracking

For his part, Sen. Manchin bucked his party’s leader, saying, “I’ll be 71 years old in August, you’re going to whip me? Kiss my you know what,” Manchin told Politico, referring to the political party practice of whipping up support – or party discipline – for particular votes. Sen. Manchin met with Judge Kavanaugh for two hours but didn’t voice support, saying he might need a second meeting before deciding how he’ll vote.

This was the 39th meeting Judge Kavanaugh has conducted with Senators, until then, all with Republicans. Sen. Machin is among three Democrat Senators who broke with their party to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch. The two others are Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). All three are up for re-election in states that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.

Elections And Consequences

They, along with seven other Democrat senators in states carried by President Trump, are carefully weighing their votes. Sen. Heitkamp said she would “thoroughly review and vet” Judge Kavanaugh before casting her vote. Sen. Donnelly has been cautious, stating he would “carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is in a re-election bid in another state that went for President Trump. He voted against Justice Gorsuch, and said he’s looking forward to meeting Judge Kavanaugh while urging “my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put politics aside and do what’s best for this nation.” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) also voted against Justice Gorsuch and is now carefully weighing his vote for Judge Kavanaugh, although both have yet to commit to meetings.

Several Democrat senators haven’t made their views on Judge Kavanaugh public, while, others including Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), have publicly stated they will oppose.

A Court That Respects Rights

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) is outspoken in his support for Judge Kavanaugh, telling reporters, “I have known the judge for a long time. I’ve followed his record. I think he is the type of judge that we need on the Supreme Court, not one who is going to be making policy or legislating from the bench. I think he very much shares the same judicial philosophy as Justice Gorsuch so I look forward to supporting his confirmation.”

Judge Kavanaugh needs the support of 51 senators to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. With Sen. John McCain battling cancer at his home in Arizona, the courage to vote for nation above party is critical for a Supreme Court that would continue to preserve Second Amendment Rights.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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