Democrats have all but acknowledged that they are unable to stop the Senate from confirming Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, reports the Washington Post. Moderate Republican senators such as Susan Collins of Maine are sending strong signals that they will back Kavanaugh. Several Democrats facing difficult reelections have indicated they are open to voting for the judge. Leaders of the resistance already are delivering post-mortem assessments and blaming fellow Democrats for a looming failure. Barring a major revelation, the Senate is poised to install the 53-year-old Kavanaugh on the high court and take the next step toward fulfilling President Trump’s pledge to remake the federal judiciary, potentially for decades.
“There were too many Democrats who decided out of the gate that this was an unwinnable fight,” said Brian Fallon of Demand Justice, a leading anti-Kavanaugh group that will continue to battle the nomination. The fizzling campaign to block Kavanaugh underscores the relative weakness of the Democrats, who had promised their political base a pitched battle to protect the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling and other liberal causes. Democratic leaders have sought to portray the would-be justice as a far-right ideologue and targeted a handful of senators seen as persuadable. Confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh will begin Sept. 4. Forty-nine of the 51 Republican senators have expressed full support or likely backing, shifting the focus to Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and three centrist Democrats, Joe Manchin III (WVA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Donnelly (IN). Maine’s Collins decried the “overblown” rhetoric from the sharpest Kavanaugh critics. She has been a reliable Republican vote, backing Kavanaugh in 2006 when President George W. Bush nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Collins has never voted against a Supreme Court pick.