Podcast: Shannon Bream On Kavanaugh And Recent SCOTUS Decisions

Outside candidate for Supreme Court buoyed by McConnell's backing

Kennedy upheld abortion rights during his tenure on the top court, but Trump has promised to nominate justices who will overturn Roe.

Kavanaugh potentially could serve on the high court for decades.

Because an important part of that paper trail was printed working under Kenneth Starr and George W. Bush, I would also expect some of the vulnerable Senate Democrats to feel more comfortable voting against him, citing his pro-business rulings and partisan political history, than they might have been against Amy Coney Barrett, whose higher-risk but higher-political-reward nomination the Trump White House chose to eschew.

Kavanaugh worked with Kenneth Starr in the 1990s when he investigating former President Clinton.

He referred to Kavanaugh's arguments that sitting presidents shouldn't have to face criminal investigations because they are distracting and that a president doesn't have to follow laws he deems unconstitutional.

The appointment will not change the ideological breakdown of a court that already has a 5-4 conservative majority, but nevertheless could move the court to the right.

Republicans have 51 votes in the Senate and need 50 votes to confirm Trump's nominee, assuming Vice President Mike Pence votes with them to break a tie. Without Republican defections, however, Senate rules leave Democrats with scant options to block confirmation of Trump's nominee.

Trump a year ago appointed Neil Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

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A group of Democratic senators from Republican-leaning states - lawmakers who could be pivotal in the confirmation fight - declined Trump's invitation to attend the White House announcement. As a result, Democrats have accused Republicans of stealing a Supreme Court seat. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had an ace in the hole: the "nuclear option", forged in 2013 by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, which abolished the filibuster for lower court judges. Both are pro-choice Republicans who may take issue with the fact that Kavanaugh could help overturn the landmark 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade that established abortion rights.

Both Donnelly and Manchin have said they oppose abortion except in cases of rape or incest, or if the life of the woman is at risk.

That view has particular relevance as special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign played any role in a foreign interference plot.

Among the issues they rule on are abortion, the death penalty, voter rights, immigration policy, racial bias in policing and gun control.

Trump could yet have further opportunities to move to the court to the right.

At the least, the government said, it should have a chance to place the girl with a family member or willing sponsor in the USA, saying they would be best able to help her think through such a momentous decision.

The Supreme Court in June erased the lower court's opinion, ruling that since Jane Doe had rushed to get an abortion there was no longer a live controversy and so there shouldn't be a precedent. Stephen Breyer is 79, but he also is showing no signs of retiring.

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