“Judicial Crisis Network will launch a $1.4 million ad buy on national cable, digital and in four states including Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia featuring an introductory bio spot about the” Supreme Court nominee once he or she is announced Monday night.
“The ad will run for one week, and JCN has already reserved another four weeks of air time nationally and in the four states.” The new buy brings its total spend this year to “$2.4 million in national cable, broadcast and digital.” (release)
THESE ARE THE STAKES. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “told President Trump this past week that Judges Raymond M. Kethledge and Thomas M. Hardiman presented the fewest obvious obstacles to being confirmed to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court."
"McConnell made clear in multiple phone calls with Mr. Trump and the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, that the lengthy paper trail of another top contender, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, would pose difficulties for his confirmation" because of his ties to the Bush administration. "Republicans have just 50 votes, and Mr. McConnell does not want to draw the ire of" Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), "who opposed hawkish Bush policies."
"McConnell is similarly wary of imperiling the votes of" Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) "He has told Mr. Trump he could lose the two senators, who support abortion rights, if he picks another judge seen as a contender, Amy Coney Barrett, an outspoken social conservative who some observers believe may be more open to overturning Roe v. Wade." (New York Times)
Keeping vulnerable senators “in the Democratic fold — in the face of withering pressure from a liberal base that expects nothing less — amounts to the biggest challenge of Schumer’s 18-month tenure as Democratic leader.” (Politico)
“Democratic senators running for re-election in Trump Country face an agonizing choice over President Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee: Vote to confirm the pick and risk demoralizing Democratic voters ahead of the midterm elections, or stick with the party and possibly sacrifice their own seats — and any chance at a Democratic majority in 2019. … As they plot strategy for the coming weeks, top Democrats and their allies are focused initially on holding Senate Democrats together to put most of the court pressure on” Collins and Murkowski, “who are centrist abortion-rights advocates. Democrats believe that quick signs of any defections in their party could relieve that pressure on the two Republicans while simultaneously frustrating Democratic voters.” (New York Times)
“The Senate unanimously confirmed … Hardiman in 2007 with the help of” Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), “who all face reelection this year. Nelson also approved Judge Brett Kavanaugh in 2006. Over a decade later,” Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) “voted for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. … The remaining shortlister, Raymond Kethledge, made the federal bench in 2008 without a record of each senator's position.” (National Journal)
“Democrats for years notched wins at the Supreme Court that secured legal protections on abortion, health care and gay rights — victories that party officials say created a sense of complacency among their voters around the importance of the federal judiciary. But liberals are now facing a reckoning in the long-running judicial wars as Republicans under President Trump have filled federal district and appeals courts with conservative jurists and are poised to reshape the Supreme Court.”
“Nearly three weeks before Kennedy said he would retire, the newly formed group Demand Justice held a pair of focus groups in this Ohio capital composed of engaged Democratic voters to test their views toward the courts. The focus groups — one of white women and the other of black millennials — found that rallying around the courts was not a high priority for these voters and that the role of the courts was not well-known. Participants often didn’t distinguish between local courts and the federal judiciary.” (Washington Post)