Previewing the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Kavanaugh nomination, plus… was there any reason for the Dems to cut the deal they did on 7 lower court judges this week?
- Begin tomorrow as we record, and probably are wrapped up by Thursday, maybe Friday.
- There have been calls for committee Dems to boycott, but that is definitely not happening
- Opening remarks tend to fill the first day. Highlights are the intro with former SOS Condoleeza Rice, the opening remarks by the nominee… interesting people in the panels include Ted Olsen and Paul Clement on the “pro” side and former WH Counsel and Watergate figure of note John Dean on one of the Dem panels. Dean is at the end of the day so that should perk things up.
- Second day will be the bulk of the first round of questions
- Typically, we should expect a lot of deflection on tough questions by the Democrats and softballs by the Republicans.
- This is a hypocrisy-flled zone (looking at you Senator Hatch!)
- Most likely big ticket issues will be executive power of the POTUS, rights of privacy (including choice), and then a hodgepodge of issues important to individual Senators (2nd Amendment, Commerce Clause, Administrative Law/Chevron, etc.)
- You should also expect a ton of questions on the records not produced from Kavanagh’s WH days.
- It would be a major departure from recent history for the hearings to change minds or sway votes, barring an epic collapse by Kavanaugh (like Robert Bork) or a major revelation that matters in today’s political context (like Doug Ginsburg).
Democrats trade a week of vacation for 7 judges?
- Senator Schumer was lambasted in a lot of corners for essentially letting votes for seven controversial judicial appointments go through without a fight, and another 8 in queue.
- Any single Senator could have held up some of these votes with some basic parliamentary procedural demands
- Was there a larger play here that we’re not seeing or is this just total and complete capitulation because “Dems don’t have the votes and will lose anyway”?