As the US Senate prepares for an initial Friday cloture vote and subsequent confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as early as Saturday, many view the outcome as a “make or break” moment in President Trump’s legacy.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh will shape US law for decades to come. As The Telegraph‘s Rozina Sabur notes, “The nine-member US Supreme Court will likely preside over cases that touch on issues ranging from abortion, gun rights, immigration, labour rights to campaign financing – and Mr Kavanaugh may be a key swing vote.”
Kavanaugh’s ascension would likely give the US Supreme Court its most conservative bench in several decades – although as Sabur points out, his characterization of Democrats as organizing an “orchestrated political hit” may raise questions over whether he might have to recuse himself from a vast number of cases which might appear before the court. Rozina also suggests that a Kavanaugh confirmation could spark backlash among female voters, “who may punish Republican candidates standing in November’s midterm elections.”
The Telegraph notes that if Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, which pollsters deem likely, they might demand further investigations into Kavanaugh’s past conduct – and may even float the notion of impeaching him if he is confirmed.
Impeaching a judge follows the same process as impeaching a president, requiring the House of Representative to vote on the motion then move to the Senate for a trial.
However two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favour of removing an official from office. –The Telegraph
What happens if they vote no?
If the Senate fails to confirm Kavanaugh, “the first question for Mr Trump is whether to pick another nominee or give Mr Kavanaugh a second shot,” writes The Telegraph. This suggestion was supported by Senator Lindsey Graham – a former “Never Trump” Republican who, at least in this case, is a Trump ally. Graham argues that it would make the Supreme Court nomination a key ballot issue in November, and might create a surge of conservative voters heading to the polls, out of concern over Democrats wrestling power back.
…the political makeup of the next Congress will have a huge impact on who Mr Trump puts forward for America’s highest court.
The president will have to pick another nominee which has the support of his base but one that can get the bipartisan support needed to be confirmed by the Senate.
Republicans have been determined to rush through Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination before the November elections because passing their preferred candidate will be a far greater task if they lose their majority. –The Telegraph
A “no” vote will also have great implications for the Supreme Court, which has been sitting with just eight judges since October 1; four Democrats and for Republicans.
Referendum on Trump
As The Telegraph also points out, the biggest fallout from a failure to confirm Kavanaugh will be political – and a “massive failure for the president” to be unable to secure a conservative USSC nominee while enjoying a Republican-controlled Congress. “Who would be held responsible for the blunder?” Sabur asks.
“whether Mr Trump’s supporters will blame the president’s party or the Democrats remains to be seen – either way it will add pressure on him to produce results ahead of his re-election battle in 2020” –The Telegraph
Meanwhile, liberal USSC Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85-years-old and takes frequent naps.