A Dose of McConnell’s Own Medicine

We don’t know how the Brett Kavanaugh nomination will play out, of course. This depends partly on whether Christine Blasey Ford either testifies or succeeds in getting an FBI investigation.

But it does appear that just enough Republican senators are queasy about these accusations and about Kavanaugh’s other dissembling before the Judiciary Committee that his nomination is in serious jeopardy. The way these things usually play out is that the White House pulls the plug, the nominee solemnly declares that the controversy “has become a distraction,” and he’s gone.

If that were to occur, what then?

The White House would race to get another nominee vetted and jammed through the Senate Judiciary Committee, but this would make some Republicans very nervous so close to an election. In addition, two Republicans who loathe Trump and who are not running for re-election, Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, seem to be finding a bit of spine. Both called for the Kavanaugh nomination to be delayed and may not wish to help Trump rush through a substitute.

This would get even more awkward for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell if he tries to get a nominee confirmed in the post-election lame-duck session. McConnell blocked consideration of President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, on grounds that Obama was a lame-duck president, even though his term had ten months to run when he named Garland to the high court in March 2016.

The lame-duck session of Congress runs for less than two months. It will be even more lame if Democrats take back the Senate.

Beyond that, the more potentially impeachable evidence that keeps coming out against Trump, the stronger is the case that he has no business making a Supreme Court nomination. Even more satisfying than blocking this nomination would be seeing McConnell hoist with his own petard.

By | 2018-09-19T11:10:02+00:00 September 19th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

About the Author:

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect as well as a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week, and continues to write columns in the Boston Globe. He co-founded the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and serves on its executive committee.

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