Will Heitkamp Vote for Hate or Kavanaugh?

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing on the “Oversight of Efforts to Protect Unaccompanied Alien Children from Human Trafficking and Abuse” on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 16, 2018. (Erin Schaff/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)

Yesterday’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was a cathartic moment after weeks of hate and invective aimed at Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The nominee’s righteous indignation aimed at the committee members was something to behold. He was angry, and I’m not sure how anyone not blinkered by partisanship could conclude that the emotion was unfounded. Yet amid his anger he was gracious to his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. Which is as it should have been.

Ford clearly believed what she was recounting, though that’s not the same thing as her recollection being accurate.

The question now is, who will vote for Kavanaugh?

Which side is Heitkamp on? The side of hate? Or the side which acknowledges that while Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy might not be everyone’s cup of tea, he’s amply qualified for the Supreme Court and ought to be confirmed?

As I write this things seem to be going well for the nominee. Key members of the Senate, notably Senator Jeff Flake, have said they’ll vote for him. Barring some unforeseen developments, Kavanaugh will likely be seated on the Supreme Court.

How will Senator Heidi Heitkamp vote amid her bruising re-election campaign?

The Senator has had a unique role in bringing us to this unhappy crossroads. Back in 2013, during her first year in the Senate, Heitkamp voted with the Democratic majority to “nuke” the filibuster for non-SCOTUS judicial nominees. Three Democratic lawmakers broke ranks with their party on the issue, but Heitkamp wasn’t one of them.

Republicans retaliated more recently during the fight over Justice Neil Gorsuch’s nomination. After refusing to bring President Barack Obama’s last nominee, Merrick Garland, to a vote the Republicans finished the nuking of the filibuster for judicial appointees by eliminating it for those nominated to the Supreme Court.

In 2018, absent the filibuster as a tool in the confirmation process, Democrats have turned to one of the most vicious and sustained campaigns of personal attack our nation, with all of its tumultuous politics, has ever seen. Kavanaugh has been described, by Senator Heitkamp’s partisan colleagues, as “evil.” As someone whose appointment would literally kill women.

This nomination has become about something more than Mr. Kavanaugh. It’s about whether or not we’re going to allow the orderly governance of our nation to be disrupted by manufactured campaigns of hatred.

Which side is Heitkamp on? The side of hate? Or the side which acknowledges that while Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy might not be everyone’s cup of tea, he’s amply qualified for the Supreme Court and ought to be confirmed?

Heitkamp likes to posture herself as someone above the partisan fray in Washington. Here’s her chance to prove it.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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