With deal on judges, Senate goes home for the elections

Kenny Tucker
October 13, 2018

University of Virginia analyst Kyle Kondik told VOA the furor over Kavanaugh and allegations of sexual misconduct when he was a teenager, which he denied, could be "weaponized" by Republican Senate candidates looking to defeat Democratic incumbents in Republican-leaning states.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat who become a hero to many progressives for her handling of the contentious Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation, said she wanted Schumer to cut a deal and get people home.

However, Roe v Wade was upheld in a narrow 5-4 ruling, with Justice Anthony Kennedy casting the deciding vote.

The court "will perfectly reflect the deep polarization of the American public and political system", Adam Liptak with the New York Times commented. There will be no swing vote if none of the conservative justices move to the middle. The conservative-dominate high court now completes the Republicans' stranglehold on all three branches of the federal government.

The rightward trend of the USA highest court is expected to have long-term substantial effects on many issues deeply dividing Americans, such as abortion, affirmative action, voting and gun rights.

Jim Malone has served as VOA's National correspondent covering US elections and politics since 1995. Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the party base had rallied in defense of Kavanaugh with a noticeable uptick in enthusiasm just weeks away from the midterm elections.

Visuals of How Much Damage Hurricane Michael Inflicted on the Gulf Coast
Many residents hunkered down in designated shelters like this one in Tallahassee, riding out the storm in a sturdier building. Last Thursday, forecasters were saying that what was then called Tropical Storm Michael " does not pose a threat to land ".

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Wednesday's cuts represent about 6.5 percent of the nation's daily output of 11.1 million barrels of crude. The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019.

Michael almost a hurricane, could bring rain to Volusia, Flagler
Leon County Schools wrote on Twitter that officials were monitoring the storm, but schools have not yet been closed on Wednesday. A warning indicates tropical storm conditions are expected, in this case, within 24 hours.

While Democrats have forced Republicans to use extra debate time repeatedly on nominations, GOP leaders have been relentless in using time on the Senate floor for judicial picks by President Trump in 2017 and 2018, confirming 84 judges to all levels of the judiciary.

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate cut a deal to vote on 15 judicial nominations Thursday so the senators could return to their home states for the final stretch of the campaign.

But for Trump, a focus on Kavanaugh could excite his base, said Gallup pollster Frank Newport. Among independents, 47 percent disagree with the Senate's decision to confirm Kavanaugh while only 34 percent believe the Senate was correct.

Even before the confirmation, Kavanaugh's opponents had a comeback line, printed on the back of jackets they wore to the Capitol: "November is coming".

At issue is Kavanaugh's forceful testimony replying to Ford's accusations, during which he expressed visible anger at the media figures and committee Democrats he argued were carrying out a smear campaign against him. It's hard to see how the GOP's short-term play to drum up support in the midterm elections could be worth it. However, it appears the two mainstream parties in the country would continue fighting each other in a likely more polarized way, analysts say.

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