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Hmmm: Support for Kavanaugh down from last year’s levels of support for Gorsuch in new polls

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“Who cares how a Supreme Court nominee is polling? They’re not running for an office!” you say. Right, but Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and Rand Paul and a bunch of red-state Democrats are. If Kavanaugh’s support is tepid to start with, it means any dirt that comes out during the confirmation process might sour their voters on him. And with confirmation hanging by a thread via a 50/49 party-line vote, even a small shift in public opinion against the nominee might be enough to scare the Senate into borking him.

That comes courtesy of YouGov and HuffPost. The partisan numbers on confirmation are predictable, 6/60 among Democrats versus 85/2 among Republicans, but note how evenly split independents are. Overall, the public narrowly favors confirmation at 33/31 — a statistical jump ball — whereas a year ago the public split 43/28 on Gorsuch’s confirmation. And while the public was reasonably solid in viewing Gorsuch’s nomination favorably (40/28), they’re more evenly split on Kavanaugh’s (34/32).

Fox News also polled on Kavanaugh this week and their numbers weren’t much better:

Last year Gorsuch drew a 49/37 split on the same question. And so we come to the inescapable conclusion: There’s something about Kavanaugh that the public doesn’t like. Right? He’s a hardcore Nats fan. Of course everyone looks at him skeptically!

But is that really what’s happening here — the public just doesn’t like Kavanaugh? Most Americans know nothing about him, only what they saw at the White House announcement and the bits and pieces of jurisprudential esoterica that they’re picking up in scattered news reports. How many Americans could pick him out of police line-up even after Monday’s ceremony? Thirty percent, maybe? Let me suggest that the reason Kavanaugh’s polling worse than Gorsuch has less to do with him and more to do with whom he’s replacing. Swapping out Scalia for Gorsuch was no big deal philosophically since they were each about as conservative as the other; swapping out Kennedy, the famous centrist, for a more dogmatic conservative like Kavanaugh is a big deal. Gorsuch didn’t change the balance of power on Roe or gay rights. Kavanaugh potentially will. Some Americans who’d prefer a more centrist or even left-wing may be reacting accordingly.

Interestingly, both the YouGov and Fox polls show a notable gender gap. Men favor confirming Kavanaugh 40/33 and 47/26, respectively, whereas women oppose confirming him 27/30 and 29/37, respectively. That may be merely an artifact of partisanship, as men trend Republican while women trend Democrat, but maybe not. Maybe abortion politics are influencing views here. (Traditionally men and women split roughly the same on abortion in polling but perhaps that’ll change if suddenly Roe is under real threat.)

Nate Silver has a theory worth thinking about too, though:

The only finalist alongside Gorsuch was Tom Hardiman, a dark horse. For all intents and purposes, Gorsuch was the choice all along. Not this time. While most righties are happy enough with Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett was the grassroots choice and Raymond Kethledge had some pockets of support. Could it be that a more competitive SCOTUS race tamped down Republican support for Kavanaugh? As it turns out, yes — at least in Fox’s data. Support among GOPers for Gorsuch was 82/7 versus just 70/6 for Kavanaugh, not a night-and-day difference but enough to hold down Kavanaugh’s overall public support somewhat. It may be that a few Barrett diehards haven’t gotten over Trump picking the safe, establishment, Bushian choice (yet). Silver’s theory doesn’t work with YouGov’s data, however. Last year support among Republicans for confirming Gorsuch was 69/9 (which seems suspiciously low, frankly) versus 85/2 support for Kavanaugh now.

Whatever the explanation, Kavanaugh’s support overall is clearly a bit lower than Gorsuch’s. And unlike Gorsuch, he’s destined to get scuffed up during the confirmation process. The politics of abortion are forever fraught; he’ll be dinged for his work in Ken Starr’s office; he’ll be grilled by Rand Paul and other on his rulings on civil liberties. It may be that as Barrett fans swing around and get in his corner that his numbers will rise, but there’ll be downward pressure too from shots the Dems land on him. If I were Schumer, my strategy for the hearings wouldn’t be to try to block Kavanaugh — that’s unlikely to happen unless something truly scandalous breaks — but to show Trump that Democrats have enough firepower to bloody even a “safe” pick. That might make him think twice about choosing a not-so-safe one like Barrett in case Ginsburg’s seat opens up.

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Christine Ford Says “There Is Zero Chance” She Would Confuse Kavanaugh with Fellow Student in 36 Yr-Old Incident She Just Remembered 6 Yrs Ago

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Brett Kavanaugh, Georgetown Prep school classmate Chris Garrett

Is this a case of mistaken identity? 

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford is waging a war on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh with decades-old, unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault in an effort to derail his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Ford says she first remembered the 36-year-old incident just 6 years ago. Ford does not remember where it took place, when it took place, who was there but accused two other males of being present who have vehemently denied her accusations.

Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations and even told Senator Orin Hatch he wasn’t at the party in question.

Ed Whelan, Justice Scalia’s former law clerk and president of conservative think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), came out in defense of Brett Kavanaugh and said compelling evidence will come out next week exonerating Kavanaugh.


On Thursday afternoon, Ed Whelan started dropping pictures and evidence that may blow Christine Ford’s case wide open.

The “Maryland suburban home”–the scene of the alleged sexual assault described by Christine Ford to WaPo as being ‘not too far from the Columbia Country Club’ may have belonged to Kavanaugh’s friend named Chris Garrett, says Ed Whelan.

On Thursday night Ford’s attorneys insisted Ford knew it was Kavanaugh in the room.
Ford also said she would hang out with both men and socialized with them.

It will be interesting to hear what Judge Kavanaugh has to say about Ford’s latest claims.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

An attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Thursday that her appearing at a hearing on Monday to detail her claims is “not possible” but that she could testify later in the week.

Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, relayed the response to top staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, requesting to set up a call with them to “discuss the conditions under which [Ford] would be prepared to testify next week.”…

…Amid the maneuvering, the nomination was roiled further late Thursday by incendiary tweets from a prominent Kavanaugh friend and supporter who publicly identified another high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s as Ford’s possible attacker.

Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to floor plans, online photographs and other information to suggest a location for the house party in suburban Maryland that Ford described. He also named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.

Ford dismissed Whelan’s theory in a statement late Thursday: “I knew them both, and socialized with” them, Ford said, adding that she had once visited the other classmate in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”

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Dianne Feinstein: ‘Twas the media that outed Kavanaugh’s accuser

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Is that right? The way DiFi puts it here, you would think Christine Blasey Ford’s name appeared like a bolt from the blue in the pages of the Washington Post on Sunday afternoon. In reality, the press had spent the previous 72 hours murmuring about a mysterious letter in Feinstein’s possession that may or may not contain a serious allegation against Kavanaugh. No one would say what the letter alleged but the Intercept knew that Feinstein knew something about it. BuzzFeed also knew that Feinstein knew something. Under pressure, Feinstein herself announced that she had finally referred the matter to the FBI. After sitting on it for two months. Six days before the Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote.

All of which is a long way of asking: Who do you suppose it was that tipped the media to Ford’s accusations, putting them in a position to “out” her at the eleventh hour?

Tom Cotton has a zany theory.

Democrats outed her. Maybe not Feinstein personally or someone acting at her behest, but someone in the Capitol high enough up the chain to have known Ford’s name. (Given that the Intercept and BuzzFeed are both online-only outlets, I’d guess the leaker trended younger.) And the very obvious reason they did so was because they were frustrated that Feinstein had held this weapon for two months and never used it, even during the closed session of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, leaving him on track to join the Court before the end of the month. A liberal, possibly on Feinstein’s own staff, shoved Ford into the spotlight for reasons of political expedience. Feinstein can babble all she likes about respecting the privacy of victims but them’s the facts.

Also, not to nitpick, but no one “outed” Ford. Unless I missed something, at no point did any media outlet reveal her identity against her wishes. She chose to speak on the record to WaPo over the weekend after Ronan Farrow and outlets like BuzzFeed came knocking, believing that someone *would* end up revealing her name against her wishes before long. But no one (I think) actually did so before the WaPo story came out. Whether Democrats might have been so frantic to stop Kavanaugh that they would have forced Ford’s name into print if she had declined to speak up this past weekend is a fascinating what-if. Probably they would have — which seems to have been Ford’s conclusion too. Again, so much for the privacy of victims.

Charles Cooke wonders if Ford ever really wanted to testify at all:

Dianne Feinstein has not yet submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee the original letter she was sent by the accuser. The Democratic party is almost universally calling for an FBI investigation that it knows full well is not going to happen, and should not happen, and using its absence as a reason for the hearing to be delayed. And, right on cue, certain figures on the Left have begun to play this both ways: Originally, the lack of an invitation to testify was cast as a “silencing act.” Now, the Senate’s broad invitation to the accuser to testify in whatever way she sees fit is being cast as . . . yes, as a “silencing” act. Perhaps there is something else going on here, but sure looks to me as if the aim is to delay, delay, delay — and keep the accuser as far as is possible from being required to take an oath.

Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth have both submitted statements to Grassley’s committee via counsel, notes Cooke. That’s enough for a criminal indictment if facts emerge to show they’re lying; submitting false information to a congressional panel amounts to lying to a federal official just as submitting false information during an FBI interview does. The one and only player in this drama who has yet to send a statement to the committee, as Cooke points out, is Ford herself. That’s curious, although of course not proof that she’s afraid to tell her story under oath. I think she will testify since that’s the foreseeable outcome of her decision to go on the record with WaPo. She knew that her testimony would be demanded after the story appeared and that it’d look very bad if she refused to provide it. She must have resolved to testify this past weekend, with the last few days of will-she-or-won’t-she drama little more than a PR play to frame the upcoming hearing as unfair no matter what happens.

Here’s Scarborough, who spends most of his time bashing the Trump Party nowadays, crystal clear on who it was that “outed” Ford.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham Fires Off Midnight Tweet: “Kavanaugh Nomination is Still on Track – Stay Tuned!”

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Senator Lindsey Graham; Photo: Twitter avatar

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) fired off a midnight tweet praising President Trump and reassured the American people that Kavanaugh’s nomination is still on track.

“Stay tuned!” Lindsey Graham said.

“Great job tonight by President @realDonaldTrump in Las Vegas laying out how strong America has become economically and how much safer we are with a strong military.”

Graham then said: The President is dead right about Judge Kavanaugh being highly qualified, the right person for the job, and also right about letting process play out.

Kavanaugh nomination is still on track. Stay tuned!


Senator Lindsey Graham was referring to the President’s comments during his rally in Las Vegas wherein he praised Brett Kavanaugh.

Graham has certainly changed his tune as of late–usually no ally to the President, he vowed to get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as quickly as possible.

Christine Ford has accused–without corroborating evidence–Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a drunken high school pool party decades ago.

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford believes she runs the U.S. Senate as she continues to make outrageous demands of how and when her hearing will be held.

The lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee her demands for her public testimony at a hearing–preeminent is that Judge Brett Kavanaugh testify first and that he not be allowed to be in the hearing room when she testifies, reported TGP’s Kristinn Taylor.

Laura Ingraham reported the scheduled Monday hearing where Kavanaugh and Ford were invited to testify may be postponed. Kavanugh accepted but Ford has declined so far to appear Monday.

“Two sources have told me that @SenateMajLdr is WAVERING and may ask to further delay Monday hearing. GOP base will be in full revolt if so. Tune in tonight!”

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