Can Democrats actually stop the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh?

I see tons of outrage on Twitter from people who insist that the Democrats in the Senate have to stop Brett Kavanaugh ‏from joining the Supreme Court. But I am not sure how they can given the current makeup of the Senate and the rules of confirmation.

Can Senate Democrats actually do anything procedurally to defeat this nominee?

From what I can tell the only things they can do are to get one or two Republicans on their side (unlikely when even moderates like Susan Collins don’t seem that likely to change their mind) or symbolic actions that, like the several dozen House votes to overturn Obamacare while Obama was still in office do nothing for all practical purposes. Am I mistaken?

No, they can’t. You are not mistaken.

If you watch any of the talk shows, they go on and on about the controversy, and then at the very end there is always the closing comment that the Democrats can’t do anything to stop the nomination without the help of at least a few Republicans.

At present, Democrats can’t stop the nomination. Republicans put party above all, even fake moderates like Susan Collins will say “golly gee I hope he doesn’t vote to overturn Roe” and hold their nose and vote for him, knowing full well that’s what he intends to do. If Democrats gain control of the Senate, I think the first order of business will be to restore the filibuster for nominees.

President Sanders and VP Warren won’t be very happy about that. :wink:

They won’t do that. And if they do, they won’t stick with it if it means that Republicans can filibuster their nominees. Republicans know this too, so if it means letting Democrats filibuster their nominees, they won’t let it happen either. Your guy Harry Reid crossed that bridge and for all practical purposes burned it down. There’s no going back.

Harry left it in place for Supreme Court nominees. Turtleman burned it down to get the stolen Gorsuch nomination go through.

If, by chance, Democratic staffers are able to comb through those thousands of documents and find something very troubling, then there’s a slim chance a few Republicans would join them. Alternately, if Kavanaugh says something troubling during the confirmation hearings (probably much less likely). And a third possibility is that the polling (the latest of which is about +13 for Democrats on the generic ballot) continues to worsen for the GOP, along with (perhaps) a Mueller bombshell before the final Kavanugh vote, resulting in a few panicking GOP Senators abandoning the President and his nominee.

But none of these are terribly likely, IMO.

I think the possibility of losing the Senate would prompt Republicans to rush it through, thinking they have to get their plunder while they’re still able to do so.

The minute Reid took it out for any nomination, it was a dead letter for all nominations. Harry Reid knew that, and did what he did anyway. Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

Of course, both parties are to blame for the fact that anyone even thought it necessary. The filibuster has gone from a rarely used last-gasp method of stopping monumentally unfair legislation to a trite, use it for all things method of stomping one’s feet and holding one’s breath. It probably needs to be removed in its entirety; as it is, its existence just forces bad legislation (see: ACA) through work-arounds like “reconciliation”.

As for the nominee, what follows starting today is pure political theater, designed to fire up the troops for November. I personally long for us to go back to the days of yore where the Senate returned its answer to the President in days, sometimes even hours of receipt of the nomination.

Hmm, why do you think he thought he had to do it? Was one party being reflexively oppositionist and had to be circumvented, perhaps?

Of course. :rolleyes:

Which was the inevitable response to Harry Reid’s actions: the next time a SCOTUS nominee was filibustered, by either side, the SCOTUS filibuster was a goner.

“Reflexively oppositionist” perfectly describes most Senate Dems in the Kavanugh hearing & vote.

If it was thoughtful opposition instead, could you tell?

Hint: No one has said their purpose is to make Trump a one-term President.

He didn’t ‘have to’ do it. He chose to do it, and for the same reason McConnell chose to not give whats-his-name a hearing: he perceived some political advantage in doing so.

I think “thoughtful opposition” ceased to exist in Washington years ago.

Lots of people have said / demonstrated that that’s their goal, even if they didn’t use that precise phrasing.

When and why? You’re not getting off the hook for this.

When Clinton and Obama were Presidents, one party - one - decided not to participate in the political process any more. Do you disagree?

Their having made the decision not to participate, what do you think the responsible reaction of the other party should have been?

Is that the situation today?

Do you think it is wise public policy to allow a painless minority veto for any and all measures? Is that in the spirit of either a democracy or a republic?

How do you limit the damage done to your home by children throwing tantrums?

It’s been a process, years or decades in the making.

I don’t agree with the phrasing “decided not to participate in the political process any more”. They did, after all, impeach Clinton. That was a political process they definitely participated in. Opposition to the President by the opposition party has grown increasingly “reflexive” and strident over the last four administrations.

Perhaps you should elaborate a bit on which particular actions you see as signifying “decided not to participate in the political process any more”.

I liked the more-collegial Senate of yore. In general, I thought it was a good thing that we only adopted laws, treaties, etc and accepted nominations that had widespread support.

In these divisive times, that’s more often than not a recipe for gridlock.

I don’t particularly mind gridlock.

Even though he lied under oath in 2006, the Republicans will all vote for him. Too cowardly not to. He’s got 50 votes in the bag.

Kavanaugh now proclaims wide executive privileges, but if a Democrat ever wins the White House, you can bet Kavanaugh’s decisions will then be against executive privilege.

He’s a political hack and will vote straight down the line for favored corporations and the Republicans.