Senate Democrats, facing an uphill struggle to defeat the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, opened a broad attack on Tuesday, painting him as an archconservative who would roll back abortion rights, undo health care protections, ease gun restrictions and protect President Trump against the threat of indictment
In a sign of how difficult the Democrats’ path will be, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a key swing vote, spoke favorably of Judge Kavanaugh on Tuesday, telling reporters, “When you look at the credentials that Judge Kavanaugh brings to the job, it’ll be very difficult for anyone to argue that he’s not qualified for the job.”
But the positive comments from Ms. Collins — who voted in favor of Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, two of President Barack Obama’s nominees — may have already shifted the pressure from leery Republicans to skittish Democrats running for re-election in states won handily by Mr. Trump in 2016.
Three of those Democrats — Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — voted to confirm Neil M. Gorsuch, nominated by Mr. Trump last year. None gave any hint on Tuesday of how they would vote on Judge Kavanaugh, but all will undoubtedly face intense pressure at home.
“I thought he came across as a good family person, good, decent human being,” Mr. Manchin said of his initial reaction to Judge Kavanaugh. But he said he would not be making a hasty decision about a Supreme Court appointment mere hours after the announcement, noting his concern about Judge Kavanaugh’s views of the Affordable Care Act given the “lives at stake” in West Virginia.
The NYT (sorry for the abbreviation, I don’t mean to trigger anybody) is already calling the confirmation a done deal?