NPR新闻:Kavanaugh Nomination Sparks Partisan Uproar On Abortion Rights



Senate Republicans are not wasting any time starting the confirmation process for President Trump's pick to fill a second vacancy on the Supreme Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh went to Capitol Hill this morning for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, where the top Republican predicted his confirmation will unfold over the next few weeks. But NPR's Kelsey Snell says a fierce fight is already underway.

KELSEY SNELL, BYLINE: Mitch McConnell beamed for the cameras as he shook hands with Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence. It was the first in a series of closed door meetings Kavanaugh will have with senators as GOP leaders work to make sure that Trump's nominee can be approved. Pence told reporters he's confident that they'll succeed.


VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Judge Brett Kavanaugh is quite simply the most qualified and the most deserving nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.

SNELL: But as the meeting was getting underway, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was standing across the street with Democrats in front of the Supreme Court laying out plans to prevent that.


CHUCK SCHUMER: The ramifications of this battle will last a generation and more. I'm going to fight this nomination with everything I've got.

SNELL: Schumer delivered the same warning he's been repeating since Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last month. Any nominee on Trump's list is viewed as a threat to some of Democrats' most sacred policies.


SCHUMER: For every American who cares about women's health, about protections for people with pre-existing conditions, about civil rights, labor rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental rights, now is the time to fight - now.

SNELL: Democrats have only a narrow shot at preventing Kavanaugh's confirmation. Republicans control 51 seats in the Senate. That's enough to approve a nominee all on their own. But Senator John McCain has been absent for the past several months as he undergoes brain cancer treatment in Arizona. That means Republican leaders would need all 50 remaining Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh so that Pence could come in and break the tie. So Democrats are turning their attention to Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. They're both moderates who support abortion rights. But Collins says she's not going to be pressured into a decision.


SUSAN COLLINS: I do not apply an ideological test to their personal views.

SNELL: Collins has refused to take a stance on Kavanaugh until she gets a chance to meet him and vet his personal judicial philosophy. But she says she has no objections to his qualifications as a judge.


COLLINS: It'll be very difficult for anyone to argue that he's not qualified.

SNELL: Even if Collins is convinced that abortion is the most CRItical issue in the confirmation process, Democrats will still have an uphill battle. They need to make sure that moderates in their own party who are running for re-election in states that Trump won in 2016 don't vote for Republicans on the Supreme Court opening. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told reporters Tuesday that strong feelings on both sides won't prevent the Senate from fully and fairly vetting Kavanaugh.


DIANNE FEINSTEIN: People have strong feelings. They're entitled to them. And so I'm not going to say one way or another. But we are going to have hopeful and fair hearings. And we are going to do the background work that's required for them.

SNELL: The partisan battle may have already started, but Republican leaders say they're confident Kavanaugh will get a vote this fall. Kelsey Snell, NPR News, the Capitol.

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