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Kavanaugh Nomination Fate Is Still the Superunknown

Supreme Court battle is still a ways from being over

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Many Miles to Go Before We Sleep

Well, that was a day. The lengthy hearing featuring testimony and questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, has resulted in Republicans’ decision to go ahead with a confirmation vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday

One important thing to note: Even if Kavanaugh does not secure majority support in the committee vote, his nomination can still make it to the floor. So even if the judge does not secure that 11th vote (the partisan breakdown is 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats), the majority leader can still get the nomination on the executive calendar. The committee could report it to the floor unfavorably, for instance, and still get it from that Dirksen Building hearing room to the Capitol. 

Bottom line? Regardless of what happens in committee, we could still be in for a series of tough votes, starting Saturday, on the nomination. 

And one thing is for certain: It just feels like one of those inflection points. No one is going to be same after. 

Pew Midterm Polling

Does it feel like everyone is paying attention to the midterm election cycle? It’s because they are! That’s at least according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

“With less than six weeks to go before the elections for Congress, voter enthusiasm is at its highest level during any midterm in more than two decades. And a record share of registered voters – 72% – say the issue of which party controls Congress will be a factor in their vote,” an accompanying statement about the survey from Pew states. 

And that was before Kavanaugh and Ford testified Thursday. 

This Week’s Podcast


If you want to know the stakes of the upcoming midterm election, take a look at Minnesota, where Roll Call’s Simone Pathé reported on five House races and the two Senate races, plus the governor’s race where Rep. Tim Walz is the Democratic nominee, for good measure. She shared her observations on the latest Political Theater podcast.

At the Races, At the State Room

If you missed Roll Call’s At the Races event Wednesday evening at The State Room on Capitol Hill, fear not! We’ve got a little highlight reel for you.

Watch: Ros-Lehtinen, Gutiérrez Talk Election 2018 With Roll Call

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Much obliged especially to Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., two retiring members of the House who reflected on their careers, joshed each other and offered some observations of the coming election.

“I think the greatest force and power that’s going to be transformative in the next election is going to be women,” Gutiérrez said.

Coming Next Week

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 16: Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services nominee, takes her seat to testify during her confirmation hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will discuss health care costs and how to contain them on Oct. 3 at the Ronald Reagan Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Join me Oct. 3 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington where I’ll sit down and talk with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma about health care costs and how the government and private sector can try to reduce them.

You can RSVP to the event, put on by The Economist, here

The Kicker

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 27: A tears runs down the cheek of Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)
A tears runs down the cheek of Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., as Christine Blasey Ford testifies Thursday during the Senate Judiciary hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)