Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said today that if any Republicans break ranks on the Supreme Court nomination of federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh, he doesn’t expect any endangered Democrats to cross over and vote for confirmation.
Kavanaugh was back on Capitol Hill today meeting with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), who called the nominee “the type of judge that we need on the Supreme Court, one that’s not going to be making policy and legislating from the bench.”
“I think he very much shares the same judicial philosophy as Justice Gorsuch, so I look forward to supporting his nomination,” Cornyn said.
Grassley, whose committee will first consider Kavanaugh’s nomination, told Fox Business today that his Tuesday meeting with Kavanaugh left him with the impression of “a person that’s well-versed in the law, very respected by other judges, quite — I should say great faith to interpreting the law, not stretching the law, following congressional intent.”
“And I would say being very strict on interpretation of the Constitution and things like that, that’s what impresses me, that’s what ought to impress most people, because that’s what the Constitution writers meant was that judges were supposed to interpret law,” he added. “It was our job in Congress to make the law, and judges shouldn’t be doing what we’re doing because they can’t be voted out of office if you don’t like what they’re doing.”
On Kavanaugh’s chances to be confirmed by the time the new Supreme Court session begins in October, Grassley said that “with the possibility of getting five or six Democrats and all the Republicans sticking together, yes, but if all the Republicans don’t stick together and the Democrats smell blood, then I don’t think we’ll get any Democrats.”
“So, I think we’ve got to work from the standpoint that most of the Democrats have said they’re going to vote ‘no,'” he added. “There might be a possibility getting a few, but I don’t think any of those few would dare help us get over the hurdle if we lost a Republican or two.”
So far, centrist Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) haven’t expressed deep reservations about Kavanaugh.
“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 told Politico.
Collins said Kavanaugh is qualified for the job, “but there are other issues involving judicial temperament and his political, or rather, his judicial philosophy that also will play into my decision.”
Senate Democratic women are planning a Thursday event at the Capitol with Planned Parenthood and NARAL to argue to Republicans like Collins and Murkowski that Kavanaugh would threaten Roe v. Wade and women’s access to contraceptives.