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Democrats scramble to stop Trump’s Supreme Court pick

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Congressional Democrats have launched an offensive to stop the confirmation of US President Donald Trump’s new nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, but acknowledged they have limited options.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has sought to galvanize the Democrats’ effort around the risks that a conservative court could pose to affordable health care and abortion laws.

Schumer has also focused on Kavanaugh’s expressions of support for broad presidential powers, such as his 2009 article in the Minnesota Law Review that seeks to protect sitting presidents from criminal investigations and civil lawsuits.

“He is almost certainly the one who would most yield to presidential power, to say that if a president deems a law unconstitutional he doesn’t have to obey it,” the top Democrat said. “That’s dangerous at any time, but it’s particularly dangerous when Donald Trump is president.”

Some Democratic senators are criticizing Kavanaugh as an “extreme” pick whom the president would try to use to shield himself against the ongoing Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

One strategy for the Senate Democrats would be to spread out the timeline until the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings so they can examine Kavanaugh’s background and try to prove his shortcomings.

That tactic was used with Harriet Miers, former President George W. Bush’s ill-fated pick for the high court in 2005.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, indicated that Kavanaugh would receive a vote on the floor within 65 to 70 days, adding the panel could then hold confirmation hearings around Labor Day.

Democrats say they need more time to review the trove of documents from Kavanaugh’s time as White House staff secretary under Bush and his 12-year record on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.

However, Grassley has indicated he would not deviate much from the timeline used for Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee for the high court.

A number of Democrats and Republicans have yet to make their mind about Kavanaugh and are coming under heavy pressure from both sides. But campaigning against Trump’s pick would carry risk for Democrats who face reelection in states the president carried in 2016.

Senate Democrats face another hurdle. They have acknowledged that it will be difficult to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation with only 49 seats in their caucus, but their goal is to exact as much political damage on Republicans as possible ahead of the November midterm elections.

“We have to lower the expectations of our base. We can’t defeat the nominee on our own,” a Democratic senator told The Hill on condition of anonymity.

If confirmed, the 53-year-old judge will replace long-serving Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on June 27.

This is the second time Trump nominates a judge for the US Supreme Court. Last April, Trump’s pick for the post, Gorsuch, garnered the Senate’s support after heated debates.

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