Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will begin his confirmation hearing on September 4, where he will face several days of tough questions from Senators who will determine his success or failure. It is expected that he will take his seat on the court in time for the October session, but is Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court a done deal?
When looking at the straight numbers of Republicans against Democrats and Independents, yes, it is. But there is a very real possibility that one or more Republicans may choose to side with the opposition team, and that would mean things get very, very messy.
Should every Senator vote along party lines, then the result would be clear: a narrow victory for Trump. But what if a GOP senator votes against Kavanaugh? For example, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has stated that she would not vote for anyone who was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, and while the chances of that ruling even being brought before the court are incredibly slim, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Collins could vote against Kavanaugh based on her pro-choice stance.
With one Republican senator voting with the Democrats, that gives a 50-50 tie, which would then be decided by the Vice President. But what if a senator is unable to get out and vote… think Arizona – Senator McCain has not cast a vote since early December 2017.
This could put the number of those voting against Kavanaugh at 50 to 49.
Outcomes of Failure
If Brett Kavanaugh is not in place by the beginning of October, this does not mean that the Supreme Court would shut down, however, it may cause political damage to the Trump administration’s agenda.
Most cases would still be heard, but some of the “grander issue” cases would likely be put on hold. Political popularity rests on events continually taking place; if nothing is happening, reputations cannot be built, nor can support be won in a stagnant arena. By the same token, neither can an opponent be destroyed and a populous divided, which for some is the key to electoral success.
But what of the cases that do get heard?
It is unlikely there will be many 4-4 decisions from the sitting justices, but if there were, a per curiam opinion would be probable – a group opinion, rather than a decisive, individual one; certainly not satisfactory to create bright-line rulings.
And here is the problem. Each day of delay is considered (and well-promoted) as a victory by the left. Every case that gets sent back to a lower court is a win that the left can claim is part of the Resistance. And each per curiam opinion allows them to paint the president as a hindrance to “moving the nation forward.”
It has long been apparent that those on the left of politics are willing to tear down institutions and practices in the name of their ideology. They are not seeking to stop one man’s appointment to the Supreme Court, they are seeking to reshape the process in its entirety.
By creating a delay (and who knows what promises and deals have been made behind closed doors), the left has a chance to win seats in the midterm elections. If they win seats, they begin a campaign against the president… and the decisions he makes.
For the Resistance, another SCOTUS pick for Trump is just too many. Somethings they cannot abide, and the idea that President Donald J. Trump’s influence will impact them through court decisions for the next 20 years is rattling around their heads creating anger and division. What wouldn’t they do to stop it?