The attention of the political world and billions of dollars of advertising, political advocacy and television time is currently directed at the U.S. Senate as its members consider whether to confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
With Republicans holding just a narrow, two-member majority in the Senate, every vote to confirm the conservative justice matters, and pro-life U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is one of jsut a few Republicans who may not support Kavanaugh.
Paul, a strong pro-life politician, disagrees with Kavanaugh’s stance on privacy issues and the Fourth Amendment. Previously, he has not say how he will vote yet, only that he is keeping an “open mind” as he researches the nominee. Now he admits he is “honestly undecided” on Kavanaugh, who has strong backing from pro-life groups and is strenuously opposed by Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists.
“I am honestly undecided. I am very concerned about his position on privacy and the Fourth Amendment,” Paul told Politico’s Burgess Everett in an interview. “This is not a small deal for me. This is a big deal.”
Paul is part of a small set of Republicans who are seen as possible swing votes that could join with Democrats to block Kavanaugh. Unlike Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AL) and Susan Collins (ME) — lawmakers Democrats have tried to appeal to by using the issues of health care and abortion — Paul’s primary gripe with Kavanaugh is his track record on privacy. These concerns loom large since Sen. John McCain’s current absence from the upper chamber means that only one Republican vote could theoretically sway the fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“Kavanaugh’s position is basically that national security trumps privacy. And he said it very strongly and explicitly. And that worries me,” Paul said, per Politico.
Despite the concerns he’s vocalized about Kavanaugh, however, it’s likely Paul could still end up backing the nominee due to overwhelming pressure from the Republican conference and the senator’s close ties to President Donald Trump. Just this spring, Paul caved on a vote for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, even though he had initially expressed staunch opposition to the nomination.
Still, with every Republican vote needed for confirmation, pro-life groups will leave nothing to chance. An they are also lobbying the Senate’s two pro-abortion Republicans. Two fellow Republican Senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, are being heavily lobbied by the abortion industry to oppose Kavanaugh. Both have pro-abortion voting records, but they did vote to confirm Trump’s first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017.
Other swing votes include several moderately pro-life Democrats, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, who claims to be pro-life, already has said he will oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Pro-life Vice President Mike Pence also can serve as a tie-breaking vote, as he has on other pro-life legislation in the past.
With so many unknowns, every U.S. Senator’s vote is important to the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they will vote prior to the mid-term elections on confirming Kavanaugh.
A federal judge, Kavanaugh has served on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. for more than a decade, where he developed an extensive record of protecting religious liberty and enforcing restrictions on abortion. Pro-life leaders believe he would do the same on the U.S. Supreme Court.
National pro-life leaders have expressed high hopes for Kavanaugh and the future of unborn babies’ rights.
ACTION: Contact U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.