Open Thread

The Open Thread for October 5, 2018

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) told WDAY that she will vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

From her statement: “I voted for Justice Gorsuch because I felt his legal ability and temperament qualified him to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is different. When considering a lifetime appointment to Supreme Court, we must evaluate the totality of the circumstances and record before us. In addition to the concerns about his past conduct, last Thursday’s hearing called into question Judge Kavanaugh’s current temperament, honesty, and impartiality. These are critical traits for any nominee to serve on the highest court in our country.”

Politico: “Manchin, for his part, sounds like he’s leaning ‘Yes,’ and it certainly is gettable for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the GOP leadership. It’s clear Manchin doesn’t want to be the 50th vote for Kavanaugh, but it seems like he’d be OK with being the 51st or 52nd, barring any new developments.”

“President Trump and his conservative allies now see their effort to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh as central to salvaging the Republican Party’s fortunes in the midterm elections, and hope to use the fervent liberal opposition to his nomination to the Supreme Court as a graphic example of the threat posed by a Democratic return to power in Congress,” the New York Times reports.

“The increasingly aggressive attacks on Judge Kavanaugh’s main accuser and the dark warnings about Democrats from his supporters are part of an effort to harness Republicans’ outrage over what they see as a Democratic scheme to steal a pivotal Supreme Court seat.”

“But even as Senate Republican leaders are increasingly confident that Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed, other party leaders fear his confirmation could dissipate some of the anger and sap the party of a powerful source of energy.”

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who Stevens once lauded in one of his books, does not belong on the Supreme Court, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Said Stevens: “At that time, I thought he had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected. I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability … I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) “says he’s going to attend his daughter’s wedding back home in Montana on Saturday regardless of a possible weekend Senate vote on embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh,” the Billings Gazette reports.

KTVQ: “Republicans could potentially be in a bind to confirm Kavanaugh if Daines is a no-show. With a 51-49 majority, the GOP can only afford to lose one vote, assuming all Democrats vote no. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote in the case of a tie.”

Brett Kavanaugh walks back his testimony in last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said. I hope everyone can understand that I was there as a son, husband and dad. I testified with five people foremost in my mind: my mom, my dad, my wife, and most of all my daughters.

Going forward, you can count on me to be the same kind of judge and person I have been for my entire 28-year legal career: hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good. As a judge, I have always treated colleagues and litigants with the utmost respect. I have been known for my courtesy on and off the bench. I have not changed. I will continue to be the same kind of judge I have been for the last 12 years. And I will continue to contribute to our country as a coach, volunteer, and teacher. Every day I will try to be the best husband, dad, and friend I can be. I will remain optimistic, on the sunrise side of the mountain. I will continue to see the day that is coming, not the day that is gone.

With all due respect, Brett, fuck you.   Judicial temperament, judicial integrity, judicial independence, once you lose it, once you violate it, like trust, it is gone forever.  I will never trust you to be an independent judge.  Every ruling will be suspect.  We will wonder whether you are ruling for or against something due to your obvious and overwhelming partisan animus.

The Washington Post editorial board, for the first time since 1987, urges senators to vote against a Supreme Court nominee:

As senators prepare to vote this week on Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, they, and the rest of the country, must wonder: Which Brett M. Kavanaugh are they evaluating? Is it the steady, conservative jurist he was reputed to be before his confirmation saga? Or is it a partisan operative harboring suspicions and resentments about Democrats, with possible misdeeds in his past?

Unfortunately — and unnecessarily; it didn’t have to be this way — too many questions remain about his history for senators to responsibly vote “yes.” At the same time, enough has been learned about his partisan instincts that we believe senators must vote “no.”

“The Senate majority remains up for grabs five weeks before Election Day, with Republicans struggling to put away nearly half a dozen Democratic incumbents they had expected to beat and Democratic challengers remaining surprisingly resilient in three Republican-held seats,” Politico reports.

“At least six Senate races — three currently held by Democrats and three held by Republicans — are too close to call, according to a dozen senators, strategists and pollsters in both parties interviewed by Politico for this story. That means even a slight shift in the national political environment between now and Election Day could be the difference between a slim Democratic majority and firm Republican control. And another handful of races on both sides are not yet out of reach.”

President Trump “is unlikely to pay a legal or financial price even if new allegations of extensive tax dodging by him and his family are borne out. Multiple factors could offer Trump a shield, not the least of which is time: The questionable practices outlined in a New York Times report happened so long ago that a case would be difficult to make today, especially given statutes of limitations,” Politico reports.

“If Trump inherited undervalued assets, as the Times report alleged, he wouldn’t be liable for underpayment of gift taxes because the tax liability falls on the donor — his father, Fred Trump, who died in 1999.”

A new Los Angeles Times poll finds Republicans are at risk of a wipeout in California’s six most hotly contested congressional races, “a result that could radically reshape the state’s political map, with major consequences nationally.”

“The Democratic tide threatens to swamp congressional districts in Southern California’s suburbs that Republicans have controlled for decades. That would significantly boost Democrats’ chances of gaining the additional 23 seats they need to win a majority in the House.”

“But if the tide ebbs only slightly, the GOP could emerge with much of its control intact.”

Matt Grossman: “When Democrats historically have tried to enact a spate of liberal policies, Republicans have made gains and public opinion has moved in a more conservative direction. Likewise, when Republicans have passed more conservative policies, Democrats have made gains, and public opinion has moved in a more liberal direction. It might not sound intuitive, but policy victories usually result in a mobilized opposition and electoral losses.”

“Or, put another way, voters usually punish rather than reward parties that move policy to achieve their goals.”

Nate Silver: “Overall, I’m inclined to conclude there’s actually something there for Republicans — that their position has genuinely improved from where it was a week ago (although, not necessarily as compared to where it was a month ago). But I’m also wary of the idea that this is necessarily a turning point, since it wouldn’t take much — a couple of good generic ballot polls for Democrats, plus a handful of good state-level results in places like North Dakota — to reverse the GOP gains in our forecast. There is truth in the idea that Republicans have had a decent week of polling, but it can also be exaggerated by cherry-picking data that’s consistent with a particular narrative.”

“Finally, it should go without saying that this is still a dynamic situation, and it doesn’t necessarily follow that the party that ‘wins’ the battle over Kavanaugh will benefit electorally. The opposite could prove true.”

“Democrats will seek a firsthand look at President Trump’s tax returns if they take control of the House or Senate after next month’s election, according to the key lawmakers who would gain the authority to get the documents,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), who is in line to chair the House Ways and Means Committee: “We will do that.”

“Under the tax code, the Ways and Means chairman can demand and receive any taxpayer’s records from the IRS for confidential review. Neal wouldn’t need approval from the full House, the Senate, or the administration.”

First Read: “If Kavanaugh gets confirmed, he heads to the U.S. Supreme Court with an indelible asterisk next to his name (and with more than 1,000 law professors signing a New York Times op-ed that he shouldn’t be confirmed). There’s also a good chance there will be future investigations into Kavanaugh if Democrats win control of Congress. And it will be hard to forget his ‘revenge on behalf of the Clintons’ and ‘what goes around comes around’ lines.”

“If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushes Kavanaugh across the finish line, he’ll get another nominee on the court by a party-line (or close to it) vote — but at great cost to the Supreme Court’s legitimacy, especially after Merrick Garland.“

”If President Trump gets his man, he’ll have united Republicans, but he possibly also exposed Senate and House candidates in blue/purple/urban/suburban areas, as well as some current GOP senators (up for re-election in 2020 and beyond) who might not have wanted to take this vote.”

Jonathan Chait: “The FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh has turned out to be a fig leaf. Multiple reports tell the same story: The White House has controlled the probe, ignoring the attempts by multiple witnesses to reach investigators and wrapping up its work well before its already-tight deadline.”

“In the meantime, however, significant new evidence has appeared from the news media. It demonstrates beyond a doubt that Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony was a farrago of evasions and outright lies.”

Joshua Green: ““Some Resisters march or knock on doors; others raise money or run for office. John Burton felt his gifts lay elsewhere: namely, in tearing down political opponents.”

“Over the past year, backed by mysterious donors, he’s organized what may be the most audacious grass-roots project in the age of Trump. Burton has amassed an army of 16,000 amateur sleuths who, with professional guidance, have spent months ferreting out damaging material on scores of vulnerable Republicans in Congress and state legislatures. Now he’s ready to unleash it just in time for the midterms.”

“Oppo works best when its target is unaware, so Burton’s project, dubbed Citizen Strong, has operated by stealth, waiting until just now to publicly declare its existence as a 501(c)4 ‘dark money’ group with three affiliated political action committees.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

18 comments on “The Open Thread for October 5, 2018

  1. Kavanuagh’s apology: “I’m sorry, baby. You just made me so mad. I swear I’ll never do it again.”

      • RE Vanella

        What is the trend in real wages over time? Google wage stagnation. Maybe you’ll learn something. But I doubt it.

    • So where did this “quote” come from? Is this something you made up? or just fueling the fire.
      He is innocent until proven guilty, in a court of law and judged by his peers. NOT, in the media. Would you want your family member go thru this? Or Would you want a fair impartial jury trial? She should have went to the police first!

      • It’s not a trial, genius. It’s a job interview.

      • This isn’t a trial. And my husband and son don’t worry about false accusations. Men who worry about false accusations have revealed they have something in their past to worry about.

        Go to the police? You really need to read up on this subject. You can start with Steve’s guest post from yesterday.

        • Your mistake here is in treating him as a human being of normal intelligence. He’s not.

          • Al, why even say anything, If you don’t have anything nice to say. Makes no sense to me or you just like to blabber.

        • Pandora
          I’m sure your Husband and Son are great people. But, anything can happen. Anyone can accuse.

          • Yeah, they’re still not worried. You know, because… statistics. But you keep being scared.

    • ‘You’d Better Put Some Ice On That.’

  2. Wow. Listening to Grassley throw a fit now. I’m not sure they have votes.

    • As Josh Marshall pointed out, if they had the votes they never would have run Kavanaugh’s op-ed. Begging for the job ought to be disqualifying.

      • cassandram

        Yeah, Dan Rather made the same observation too. And in the WSJ opinion page, is specifically targeted to the GOP votes hanging out there.

    • It’s interesting that the MAGAt party is whining about “ruined lives”, when it’s the careers of 2-5 senators who will end because of this.

  3. Here’s one for delacrat, another story of Russians pushing discord that has nothing to do with politics but everything to do with racism, which of course affects politics in this country because one party caters to racists.

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