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Trump picks political hack for Supreme Court

In D.C. they call him “Beltway Brett” and “Swamp Creature”

Kavanaugh favors unbridled executive power and says presidents can’t be investigated 

He worked for Ken Starr and drafted Clinton impeachment articles

George W. Bush rewarded him with a federal appeals court seat for his work on Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court decision that shut down the Florida recount and gave Bush the 2000 election.

Trump probably picked him hoping to shut down the Mueller investigation.

But by opting for a Beltway insider who’s despised by Democrats and is aloof from the GOP base, he’s picked a fight he could lose. 

With Republicans holding a 50-49 seat Senate majority (ailing Sen. McCain isn’t expected to vote), Democrats need all of their votes plus at least one Republican vote to defeat the nomination.

Heading into the selection process, several Democratic senators were thought to be possible “yes” votes, but Trump has made it easier for them to vote “no.” Sen. Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat from Pennsylvania, announced he will oppose the nomination “because it represents a corrupt bargain with the far Right, big corporations, and Washington special interests.”

Two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), have indicated they consider Roe v. Wade “settled law” and would vote against a nominee who might overturn it. While Kavanaugh has stated he considers Roe v. Wade to be stare decisis, meaning binding precedent, that may not be enough to appease them, because he’s staunchly pro-life and undoubtedly will try to restrict abortion as much as possible.

Meanwhile, his hostility to Mueller’s investigation and expansive view of presidential power may give additional Republican senators pause.

The calculus is complicated. But this much is clear: Trump picked a polarizing nominee, and his confirmation is not a sure thing.


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