On this episode: Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50-48 vote in the US Senate as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. We chat about the flurry of activity that preceded the vote, the benefits of fighting until the end, the oddity of Susan Collins speech, the politics going forward, and much more.
Buffalo Bills (and perhaps New York Jets) fans are familiar with what happened. You aren’t supposed to win this one. But then something odd happens that sets you up for a miraculous victory. Then the thing that should happen as a matter of course to complete said victory goes sideways (or sails wide right – double entendre intended) and the L is more heartbreaking than it would have been, but for the intervening miracle.
- When Lisa Murkowski voted no on cloture, it was a signal she was a no for confirmation.
- Yes votes for cloture could still get no votes on confirmation, so Susan Collins and Joe Manchin were the only votes left – we all knew Manchin was going to wait on Collins because he is nothing if not a political weather vane.
- Because CW had Collins and Murkowski voting together (cough cough including some predictions here)…. there’s your unexpected glimmer of hope.
- In announcing her yes vote, Susan Collins gives a 45-minute speech that could have come from Hatch or McConnell. It was hardly the speech of a “50/50 I’m not sure, this is close to the line for me” Senator.
- With that, Manchin announced 13 seconds later that he was a yes.
- Kavanaugh was voted in 50-48 (Murkowski changed her no to a present to allow for Montana Sen. Daines to attend his daughter’s wedding without dramatic private plane rides back and forth or delays in votes).
Susan Collins gave a weird speech for someone who was 50/50
I quote from Season 2, episode 1… the one good prediction we ever had:
No, Susan Collins is not coming to the rescue…
What do you all make of her incredibly off-putting speech?
Attacks on Kavanaugh accusers
This was not the precursor to a red wave, even though Mitch McConnell is desperately trying to will it so. Is it too far away from the election to stem a blue one?
Tim: GOP grandstanding is a symbol of how much they fear this fall. They feel way better about the Senate, but that may be premature. While this drummed up a lot of supporters on the right, it’s also an eternity in 2018 election season terms… they cool, but the blue wave still seems poised to strike the shit out of purple districts.
Should we tap the brakes on SCOTUS expansion/Court-packing calls? Perhaps better (with exec and leg power) to expand lower courts?
Tim: Progressives tend to be institutionalists when it comes to SCOTUS, and certainly in comparison to the other side. I can absolutely sympathize with the calls for SCOTUS expansion, and I agree there is nothing that demands the Court stay at 9. Rather than fall into a court-packing trap, I’m more interested in strengthening the judiciary’s independence, and that might include expanding lower courts and maybe I’m open to an exploration of altering the structure of lifetime appointments.
Also, court packing proponent Michael “I’m everywhere like Forrest effing Gump but should probably do a lot less of that” Avenatti? As the kids say… take a seat. Take all the seats. Kaythanksbye.