Kavanaugh’s Effects on the Midterms

On October 6th, 2018, Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings became controversial when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexual misconduct towards her in highschool, and subsequently, two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Brett Kavanaugh replaced a moderate conservative, Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh’s seating on the Supreme Court has created a 5-4 strongly conservative majority that the Republicans have been seeking for decades. Supreme Court Justices are supposed to be unaffiliated with political parties, yet they still have personal views. Problematically for Democrats, Brett Kavanaugh has very strong views that are generally seen as conservative. For example, he believes that there should be little to no regulation on guns and that women should not have a choice regarding abortion. Many Republican politicians do not support gun regulations or abortion. Kavanaugh believes that gun regulations should be determined strictly based on the text of the Second Amendment, and is openly unwilling to adapt to the current danger of fire arms compared to the danger of firearms when the Constitution was created. Therefore, some of the beliefs that Kavanaugh has exemplified are concerning to Democrats. Democrats and many Americans became very passionate and hopeful during the FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, because they thought proof may have been found against Kavanaugh that would have swayed the confirmation vote and result in Kavanaugh being rejected, which did not occur. Additionally, Democrats wished he would not be confirmed due to his extreme partisanship during his confirmation hearing and his strong conservative views. The majority of Democrats believe that the five day investigation done by the FBI was not a thorough investigation. During the investigation, the FBI did not interview Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford, they only talked with ten people, such as Deborah Ramirez, who also accused Kavanaugh, but they did not interview Julie Swetnick, another accuser. Trump had limited who the FBI could speak to during the investigation although he claimed that the FBI investigation was not limited. Democratic Senator Hirono from Hawaii called on Senator Jeff Flake and other moderate Republican senators to “push for a more thorough investigation”.

How does Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation affect the 2018 midterms? Many voters, especially Democratic voters, are angry that the Republicans allowed Brett Kavanaugh to sit on the highest court in the land considering that he may have a history of sexual misconduct. The anger from the voters may result in a larger voter turnout for Democrats across the country. Moreover, according to NPR, “Eighty-one percent of Democrats listed the court as a big factor in their vote.” Additionally, the Kavanaugh Confirmation is extremely helpful to Democrats in California, where there are a lot of Republican House seats that could flip to the Democrats. According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, “43 percent of female voters in Walters’ district said they would be more likely to vote for Democrats if Kavanaugh is put on the court, while only 23 percent say that would give a boost to the Republican.” There are many educated women in California who are outraged about Kavanaugh’s conformation, and the opportunity will encourage them to vote for Democrats because House Democrats have mentioned the idea of an article of impeachment against Kavanaugh. The Democrats have large odds of winning the House. According to CNN, “[in] only three elections -- 1934, 1998 and 2002 -- since the Civil War has the president's party not lost House seats in a midterm election. Those losses average more than 30 seats when the president is under 50% job approval -- as Trump is in both the NPR and Q polls”.

Will the Democrats attempt to impeach Brett Kavanaugh if they win the House? Many House Democrats have claimed that they would support a further investigation into the allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh from the House Judiciary Committee. The Chair of the House Judiciary Committee if the Democrats win will be Jerrold Nadler from New York, and he has already stated that he would support an article of impeachment against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The first step to an article of impeachment comes from the House of Representatives, and if the majority of the House votes for the article of impeachment, then it is brought to the Senate. But, for an article of impeachment to pass through the Senate it must receive ⅔ of the Senate vote: 67 out of 100 Senators. Even if the Democrats win a multitude of seats in the Senate, they cannot have 67 Democratic Senators because if every Republican seat up for grabs is won by Democrats, they would have 57 seats. Brett Kavanaugh’s impeachment would have to be led bipartisanly, which is the reason the Constitution requires a ⅔ supermajority in the Senate. Ultimately, in order for the Democrats to impeach Brett Kavanaugh, the House Judiciary Committee would need to conduct an additional investigation that discovers proof against Kavanaugh, swaying Republican Representatives to vote for his impeachment. Getting a Democratic supermajority to vote on impeaching Brett Kavanaugh is a long shot, but it is not impossible if the Democrats win the house and earn Republican support. The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings will not only affect the 2018 midterm election voting turnout, but also the agenda of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.