Niels Lesniewski

Midterm Elections Hold Ultimate Verdict on Kavanaugh
McConnell asserts confirmation process driving up Republican enthusiasm

The final verdict on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh may be delivered in the midterm elections. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

Even before Saturday’s Senate vote made Brett Kavanaugh a Supreme Court justice, senators from both parties said voters soon would deliver the final verdict on President Donald Trump’s divisive appointment.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, said the contentious debate about the confirmation process was driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 midterm elections.

Final Kavanaugh Vote Comes With a Whimper, Not a Bang
Somber mood pervades Senate as Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a press conference in the Capitol after the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the end, for as long, drawn out and acrid as the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was, the actual confirmation vote itself was brief, to the point and relatively somber.

Senators, seated to take their votes in the chamber during the rare Saturday session, rose at the calls of their names, saying “yes” and “no.” When Vice President Mike Pence announced the 50-48 vote and that Kavanaugh had been confirmed, he did so flatly, with none of the flourish or emotion that usually comes with such hard-fought victories. 

Mitch McConnell Sees Electoral Gains From Fight Over Brett Kavanaugh
Interview with Roll Call came ahead of confirmation vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes his way through the Capitol for a TV interview before the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Brett Kavanaugh was on the verge of confirmation Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was sounding sure the Supreme Court battle will prove a benefit to Senate Republicans at the polls in November.

In an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, the Kentucky Republican said the debate was really driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 mid-terms.

Brett Kavanaugh to Be Rare Beneficiary of Senate Paired Voting
Votes of Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Steve Daines will be offset

Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and  Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, will pair their votes on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, enabling Daines to attend his daughter’s wedding and Murkowski to voice her position. Also pictured above, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When the Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, two senators will engage in a practice that’s all but died out.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only member of the Republican Conference opposed to elevating the current D.C. Circuit Court judge to the high court, announced Friday that ordinarily she would vote “no.”

High Tension on the Hill Leading Up to Kavanaugh Vote
 

Susan Collins Will Vote ‘Yes’ on Kavanaugh Nomination
Maine Republican had kept her position on the Supreme Court nomination under wraps

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, makes her way to the Senate floor in the Capitol before voting “yes” on a cloture that advanced the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to a final vote on October 5, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Susan Collins will vote “yes” on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, one of the last remaining hurdles to the high court for President Donald Trump’s nominee.

Earlier on Friday, the Maine Republican voted to cut off debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination, helping her leadership clear a key hurdle and setting up a final confirmation vote on Saturday. 

Heidi Heitkamp Will Vote No on Kavanaugh Nomination
North Dakota Democrat is in a tight re-election campaign

Heidi Heitkamp, the North Dakota Democrat who is running in a tight re-election race, will vote no on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:09 p.m. | Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat leading Roll Call’s list of most vulnerable senators on the ballot this fall, announced Thursday that she’ll vote against confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“The process has been bad, but at the end of the day you have to make a decision, and I’ve made that decision,” the North Dakota Democrat told WDAY, the ABC affiliate in Fargo, N.D. “I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh.”

Mitch McConnell Sets Friday Vote to Thwart Filibuster of Brett Kavanaugh
Wednesday evening move sets up Friday procedural vote and possible Saturday confirmation vote

The Senate is now scheduled to hold a key vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell followed through late Wednesday in setting up a Friday vote to limit debate on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

Under Senate rules, the key vote on McConnell’s cloture motion will take place one hour after the Senate convenes Friday. The Republicans needed to get the motion to limit debate before the end of the calendar day Wednesday to allow the Friday vote.

Senate Clears Big Aviation, Opioid Legislation Under Shadow of Brett Kavanaugh and FBI
Pending water resources deal could be last major legislative item before Election Day

A reauthorization of the FAA will be among the final pieces of big-ticket legislation to pass before Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s never-ending Supreme Court drama continued to overshadow a pair of bipartisan legislative wins — with at least one more expected before Election Day.

As senators awaited a supplemental report from the FBI about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, they cleared for President Donald Trump a big bipartisan bundle of bills to combat the opioid scourge and a long-awaited reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Tim Kaine Sounds Alarm About Trump’s View of ‘Collective Self-Defense’ Powers
Writes to Defense Secretary Mattis about latest legal interpretation

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is expressing new concerns about the scope of authorizations to use military force. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic senator who has long called for Congress to take a more active role in decisions to authorize U.S. military action around the world is expressing concern about the Trump administration’s view of “collective self-defense.”

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine released a letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary James Mattis indicating that there are very few limits on the scope of self-defense under interpretations of current law.