In the wake of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s angry testimony claiming a Democratic conspiracy is trying to thwart his confirmation, Senate Republicans are bulldozing their way towards a final vote.
As Politico reports:
Senate Republicans are racing to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, betting that the Supreme Court nominee was persuasive enough in his denial that he sexually assaulted a high school acquaintance to counter the powerful testimony of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is planning to vote on Friday morning to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) then plans a Saturday procedural vote to formally move to the nomination, with a potential confirmation vote as early as Tuesday.
This rush to vote is risky. For all the drama of the day’s hearing, with Kavanaugh offering starkly different testimony than his accuser Ford, it’s not clear that the fundamental dynamics have changed. The few swing votes among Republicans who might vote against Kavanaugh have not come out in favor of him.
Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine are, Politico observes, “still undecided.” They had a private meeting with two other wavering Senators: Jeff Flake of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia (the sole Democrat of the group). “Manchin said no one in the room gave anything away on how they will come down,” Politico notes. “Then, in the full GOP conference meeting, Murkowski, Collins and Flake offered their colleagues no signal of where they would land, according to an attendee.”
The Republican theory seems to be that a quick vote will bring Flake, Murkowski and Collins on board (and might even draw in Manchin). That gamble could work, since Republicans have gone along with party-line votes before. But it’s a genuine risk.