When Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court was announced last year, it was greeted with a sense of déjà vu.
And the news had been around for some time: The 79-year-old jurist had spent his life on the bench, had been a practicing Catholic and was considered a conservative stalwart.
Yet when he was nominated, he was greeted by a wave of enthusiasm and criticism from conservatives and liberals alike.
That wave of support — which included the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Bar Association — prompted Republicans to abandon plans to delay or delay-and-replace his nomination in the hopes of taking him out of the spotlight.
And with a week left in his nomination hearing, that wave of criticism was beginning to fade.
But what’s different now is that the Republican Party’s leaders are beginning to see it differently.
Trump, who had long vowed to take the seat from the late Justice Antonin Scalia, is no longer the one to bear the responsibility of defending the conservative cause.
Now, he’s left the door open for the liberal and progressive side of the court.
For the first time, Democrats are trying to counterbalance their own attacks by making sure Republicans don’t nominate a moderate jurist.
“They can’t ignore the left, the liberal side, they’re going to have to defend it,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told The New York Times.
“And I think they will.”
And while the GOP leadership may not have been willing to commit to that position, it appears they are preparing to.
That’s because the Judiciary Committee, which will hold the confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh on Wednesday, is set to begin its deliberations next week.
Republicans have been reluctant to commit on how they’re planning to proceed, but some Democrats say they’re preparing to start by putting up a fight on the nomination.
“This is the first day that I can remember where there was an open discussion about what we’re going forward with,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, D -Hawaii, who has repeatedly called for Kavanaugh to be removed from the court and said Republicans should “take a stand and not be complicit in a process that is clearly a partisan effort.”
The Senate will hold a hearing on Tuesday in which the Judiciary panel will hear from both sides of the issue.
Some of the Democrats’ concerns stem from the fact that Kavanaugh is a well-known liberal who has worked closely with President Barack Obama and who was the chief architect of Obama’s climate change initiatives.
Republicans argue that his confirmation would allow the Supreme Justice to advance a far-reaching agenda that would advance the interests of powerful special interests, including the fossil fuel industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
Some Republicans have even suggested that the Supreme.
Court would be better off with a liberal justice.
“The question is, would a moderate be better than a liberal?
I don’t think that’s the question that should be asked,” Sen, Joe Manchin, D.W.
Va., told reporters last week.
“I think that is a question for the Republican nominee, the Democratic nominee, and the independent nominee.
I think that would be a question that would need to be answered.”
And Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D.-N.D., said she’s “very confident” that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Heitkamps comments came during a closed-door meeting of senators and other White House officials on Thursday, which took place just days before the Senate Judiciary Committee begins its hearings.
The meeting was conducted in a closed meeting with the White House counsel’s office, and it was not clear how the White Trump administration plans to handle the issue of how it plans to address the confirmation process.
A White House official told Politico on Friday that the president had asked the WhiteHouse counsel’s team to review all of the witnesses to be heard at the hearing, and that there was “no timetable” on when the process would begin.
“In the meantime, we will continue to make our case for Judge Kavanaugh,” the official said.
“We continue to have confidence that the process that we have in place will allow for the hearings to be fair, and we are committed to following through with that commitment.”
The Judiciary Committee is set for its hearing Wednesday, and a number of Democrats are asking the committee to include a number different points of view on the issue in order to make sure the panel hears from both liberals and conservatives.
“That’s what I like about the Judiciary.
I like that it’s nonpartisan, and I think the people in the room are going to be able to make their own decisions,” Heitbamp told reporters.