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So much for GOP division dooming Kavanaugh.

POLITICO's Burgess Everett and Heather Kagle report:

President Donald Trump could have done a lot worse than Brett Kavanaugh, according to Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

The centrist GOP senators offered few hints on Tuesday about how they will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. But it’s clear that Trump could have made confirmation in the narrowly divided Senate much more difficult if he had picked someone like 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett or another equally conservative nominee.

“Let’s put it this way: There were some who have been on the list that I would have had a very, very difficult time supporting, just based on what was already publicly known about them,” Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in an interview on Monday. “We’re not dealing with that.”

Collins (R-Maine) told reporters that while she wouldn’t directly compare Kavanaugh with Barrett, she touted Kavanaugh’s experience and sounded warm notes about him while insisting she has yet to decide.

“It will be very difficult for anyone to argue that he’s not qualified for the job. He clearly is qualified for the job,” Collins said. “But there are other issues involving judicial temperament and his political, or rather, his judicial philosophy that also will play into my decision.”

Both Collins and Murkowski voted for Kavanaugh's confirmation in 2006. These two senators were Democrats' best hope of keeping Republicans from confirming Kavanaugh.

Susan Collins seems impressed with Kavanaugh, which was probably the determining factor in choosing him.


Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who supports abortion rights and has said she could not back a nominee who opposed Roe v. Wade, told NBC News she was "glad" about remarks Kavanaugh made more than 10 years ago that the 1973 ruling legalizing abortion was "settled precedent."

Her comments offer a preview of the rationale she might use in eventually backing his confirmation — a would-be critical vote for the GOP to maintain its slim Senate majority.

"Back then, he said that he considered Roe to be settled precedent and that is my judgment as well, so I was glad to hear him say that at that time," Collins said, adding that she would raise the issue when she meets privately with him as part of the confirmation process.

In 2006, during his confirmation hearing for a seat on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh said he "would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully." Kavanaugh called it a "binding precedent of the court."

Collins also said Tuesday she found Kavanaugh's dissent "notable" in a 2011 decision by his Circuit Court in which the senator pointed out he did not argue for striking down Obamacare's ban on health insurers' discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions or for doing away with the individual mandate. Kavanaugh, in his dissent, said he believed the court did not have jurisdiction in the case challenging the Affordable Care Act.

With a 51-49 senate and every single Democrat going to be under threat of excommunication if they vote for him, Collins's vote becomes absolutely critical. No doubt red state Democratic senators like Claire McCaskill would prefer not to go against her party's base. But neither does she want to be blamed if Kavanaugh goes down, which is what the GOP in Missouri is poised to do. A Collins "yes" on Kavanaugh gives McCaskill an out and the chance to keep her base happy by voting "no."

The other Republican problem child, Lisa Murkowski, has also made nice noises about Kavanaugh. Apparently, Trump will have a united Republican senate to confirm his choice.

And the Democrats can do squat to stop it.

Huffpost advocates violence against the Supreme Court...


Huffpost screenshot.

Sorry Paula, but that's bad news.

Jim Renacci should absolutely not restrain himself to two terms, not unilaterally. He is a strong and effective conservative voice, and when you restrain yourself artificially like that, you cause all sorts of problems when you enter a legislative body.

First off, the constituents and organizations that support you have to find another person after that time, no matter how good you represent them.

Secondly, in a legislative body, so much is run off of seniority. You will effectively cap your own effectiveness while doing nothing to take down the corruption of the system if you alone commit yourself to two terms while not convincing anyone else to join you.

By all means, term limits are a great idea, but choosing them alone only hobbles yourself. We need to have them applied for everyone in Congress, not just conservatives.

I have to admit, out of the final four or five contenders, I was least excited about Kavanaugh. But it's doubtful he'd be any worse the Kennedy, and likely that he'll be less unpredictable than Kennedy. Those are plusses.

Also, you have to figure Trump selected based on who he could get through a closely divided Senate.