Brett Kavanaugh’s impassioned testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee transfixed a nation on Thursday as Wall Street traders turned away from their terminals to tune in, causing trading volumes to plummet.
The SCOTUS nominee’s staunch rebuttal of the allegations levied by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her 36 years ago when they were both teenagers apparently convinced the handful of wavering moderate Republicans to throw their support behind Kavanaugh, as reports emerged last night that the Senate has the votes to confirm Kavanaugh, and that Senate Judiciary Committee leaders intend to hold a vote to recommend Kavanaugh first thing Friday morning, with the Senate confirmation following “in the coming days” (according to Mitch McConnell) – just in time for lawmakers to embark on an October campaigning blitz ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm vote.
According to Bloomberg, all eyes are three senators who have been undecided: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Flake told reporters he was undecided and the other two have declined to say where they stand. Meanwhile, Bob Corker of Tennessee said yesterday that he has decided how to vote – though he has yet to reveal his intentions. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has been meeting with Republicans about possibly voting for Kavanaugh. “We’re still talking,” Manchin said.
So, with Republicans reportedly on the cusp of confirming the long-awaited fifth vote that would cement a conservative majority on the nation’s highest court for the next generation, and with President Trump having voiced his unequivocal support for his nominee after wavering earlier in the week…
Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2018
…Online betting odds that Kavanaugh will be confirmed – which had dropped during Ford’s testimony Thursday morning – rebounded sharply on Friday, showing that investors overwhelmingly expect Kavanaugh will fill the seat once held by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
However, the American Bar Association (the US legal world’s largest organization) has continued to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and on Thursday evening, it issued a statement asking the GOP to delay the vote on Kavanaugh until the FBI could conduct a more thorough investigation, with ABA President Robert Carlson urging the Senate to abide by its duty to “advise and consent’.
“The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI,” ABA President Robert Carlson wrote in a letter to Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif).
The letter, which is unlikely to sway Republicans, said that an appointment to the Supreme court “is simply too important to rush to a vote.” “Deciding to proceed without conducting an additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court,” Carlson wrote in the letter, obtained by The Washington Post.
Kavanaugh touted his good standing with the ABA during Thursday’s hearing, per the Washington Post.
As part of its review of Kavanaugh’s qualifications, the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary found that Kavanaugh “enjoys an excellent reputation for integrity and is a person of outstanding character,” contributing to its unanimous “well-qualified” rating. Kavanaugh and Graham together alluded to the ABA investigation at least three times Thursday.
Also calling for an FBI probe was Harvard Law School scholar Alan Dershowitz, often lauded by President Trump for his criticisms of the the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. “Maybe we can get closer to the truth, although that is not certain,” Dershowitz wrote in a Fox News opinion piece. “But right now there are too many unanswered question[s] to bring the confirmation of Kavanaugh” to “a vote of the Judiciary Committee as scheduled on Friday, much less to a vote of the full Senate.” It is “possible that one of them is deliberately lying. Right now, there is no way of knowing for certain, which is why the FBI needs to talk to the judge’s accusers and others.”
Though even WaPo conceded that the ABA’s pleas were “unlikely to sway Republicans.”
Meanwhile protesters are already gathering on both sides of the aisle. Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, it could lead to another escalation in the extreme ideological anger – and violence – that has gripped the nation over the past two years.