Groups Prepare Paid Arguments in Kavanaugh Nomination

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and Tina Smith said they will oppose Trump's pick to the Supreme Court.

July 10, 2018, 11:20 a.m.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s previously announced $1.4 million TV ad buy on national cable and digital in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia calls Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, “the best of the best” and “a star student at Yale law” who clerked the Supreme Court, worked at the White House and was confirmed to the federal bench “with bipartisan support.” The announcer adds: “Strong and independent, he applies the Constitution just as it was written. Like Neil Gorsuch, he’ll be another great justice. Confirm Kavanaugh.” (release) It also launched a microsite, ConfirmKavanaugh.com, with facts and testimonials about the nominee. (release)

NARAL Pro-Choice America on Tuesday launched a digital ad campaign urging Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) to oppose Kavanaugh. (release) Heller is Republicans' most vulnerable incumbent senator in 2018, while the rest, with the exception of Murkowski, face reelection in 2020.

“NARAL, End Citizens United and Indivisible … are set to preview their plans today to oppose the nominee, including a national day of action on Aug. 26.”

“The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity swiftly hailed Trump’s choice on Monday. … As of Monday, AFP’s 36 state affiliates were already manned with scripts for door-to-door and phone conversations, the group said. The group is readying mailers, events and tele-town halls as well.” (Politico)

End Citizens United and Democracy for America also said they will actively oppose the nomination, while One Nation will support him.

Susan B. Anthony List is also mobilizing opponents to abortion rights in North Dakota, West Virginia, and Indiana. It also conducted polling showing majorities of voters in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia want their senators to confirm Kavanaugh.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Doug Jones (D-AL) did not indicate how they will vote on the nominee. (releases) All but Jones are up for reelection this year in states Trump handily carried. Jones is up for reelection in 2020.

Gardner similarly did not indicate how he will vote. (Twitter)

Donnelly, Manchin, and Heitkamp declined invitations from the White House to attend Trump’s nomination speech. (Washington Post)

Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Angus King (I-ME), said they had concerns or questions about Kavanaugh but would wait to make a final decision. (releases)

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) “announced Monday he will oppose President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, about nine hours before Trump actually announced the pick. He said the candidates on the Heritage Foundation's list are anti-labor and would rule to end coverage of pre-existing conditions.” (National Journal)

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN): “Brett Kavanaugh was hand-picked by extremist conservative groups. That's not consensus. We should NOT be voting until we have a new Congress and let me be clear: I will oppose this nominee.” (Twitter)

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Mazie Hirono (D-HI) all expressed serious concerns about Kavanaugh’s record or the process by which he was nominated and appeared unlikely to support him.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pledged to “support” Kavanaugh’s nomination. (release)

Heller, Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and John Barrasso (R-WY) praised Kavanaugh but did not say they’d support him, though they likely will. Sen. Deb Fischer (D-NE) also released a statement. (releases)

THE ONES NOT VOTING ON THIS NOMINATION. Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jim Renacci (R-OH), and Lou Barletta (R-PA); state Attorneys General Patrick Morrisey (R-WV) and Josh Hawley (R-MO); former Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun (R); Montana Auditor Matt Rosendale (R); Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R); Wisconsin state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) and management consultant Kevin Nicholson (R-WI); Minnesota state Rep. Karin Housley (R-MN); and Michigan businessmen Sandy Pensler (R) and John James (R) praised Kavanaugh and in come cases chided Democratic incumbents for not doing so. (releases)

Reps. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) opposed the nomination. (Twitter)

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) said Kavanaugh “deserves a fair and timely confirmation hearing.” (release)

“Menendez said at a press conference in Camden on Monday that” pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin (R) “should say how he’d vote on a nominee when President Donald Trump eventually announces one.” (New Jersey Globe) “Hugin⁩ won’t say if he’d vote for Kavanaugh but definitely won’t say he’d vote against him—yet.” (NorthJersey)

Cramer told KTGO “last week he advised President Donald Trump not to be pressured into making his Supreme Court nomination ‘some sort of affirmative action pick." (CNN)

Nia Prater contributed to this article.
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