A number of key senators in both parties are sounding positive about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a clear sign that President Donald Trump’s nominee stands a strong chance of winning a pivotal seat on the highest court in the land.
“Not so far,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, told CNN Wednesday afternoon when asked if anything she’s heard so far would be considered disqualifying.
“No, I haven’t seen anything from that standpoint,” Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said when asked if he’s heard anything that would lead him to vote no. “He’s handled himself very professionally.”
And Collins suggested she wasn’t concerned when asked Tuesday evening about Democratic complaints over the Trump administration’s decision to withhold more than 100,000 pages of documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee over claims of privilege.
“I don’t really understand their level of outrage when they had already made clear they were going to vote against any nominee that the President put forward,” Collins told CNN, echoing Republican criticism of their Democratic counterparts.
Other GOP senators are unlikely to defect, including some of the most persistent Trump critics, like Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
Asked if he would register his long-standing objections with Trump by opposing Kavanaugh, Flake said: “I don’t think who nominates him should be disqualifying. … Some people want me to become a liberal because I disagree with President Trump. I disagree with him mostly because I’m a conservative; conservatives believe in the rule of law.”
Sen. Doug Jones, the Democrat from Alabama who won his special election after Gorsuch was confirmed, was non-committal when asked about Kavanaugh on Wednesday.
“I’m still going through my process,” he told CNN.
Other Democrats voiced criticism at the process so far, including Manchin, who lashed out at both parties for their handling of this Supreme Court fight and other recent battles.
“Both sides have been deplorable in how they’ve handled themselves,” Manchin said. “That’s what makes people sick.”
Manchin also took a shot at Republicans for refusing to even meet with then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court choice, Merrick Garland – and at some of his Democratic colleagues for announcing their opposition to Kavanaugh before he was nominated.
“Anybody who announces how they’re going to vote before a President makes their appointment, there’s no commonsense or reasoning in that whatsoever,” Manchin said.