“Pro-Life” Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin Meets With Brett Kavanaugh But Refuses to Support Him

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 31, 2018   |   12:56PM   |   Washington, DC

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is a key swing vote in the upcoming confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

On Monday, he was the first Senate Democrat to meet Kavanaugh, according to the West Virginia Gazette. The Hill reports they spent two hours together in a closed door meeting.

Afterward, Manchin said he has not yet made his decision.

“He was very upfront, very honest. … I told him my thing is now to wait until he has a Judiciary hearing. When the hearing is over I will want to call him back,” Manchin said.

He also described their meeting as “productive,” and mentioned a discussion about health care.

A Democrat from West Virginia, Manchin has a mixed voting record on pro-life issues. While he did vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, Manchin is facing intense pressure from party leaders and abortion activists to vote against Kavanaugh.

Later Monday, Manchin also met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a pro-abortion Democrat.

Manchin’s Republican challenger, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, emphasized the significance of the meeting, saying Democrat leaders “have ordered their members to ‘Keep your powder dry. Don’t commit. Stay as neutral as you can.’”

SIGN THE PETITION: Vote to Confirm Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

“Sen. Manchin’s politically motivated delay tactics serve only to assist radical Washington liberals and their desperate efforts to defeat the confirmation of President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee,” Morrisey’s campaign spokesperson Nathan Brand said. “West Virginia voters want a U.S. Senator who will stand with President Trump and his highly-qualified U.S. Supreme Court pick, not another radical Washington liberal like Joe Manchin.”

Two other swing votes, Democrat Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, also said they plan to meet with Kavanaugh, according to the report.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation rests with several U.S. Senators who often are swing votes on abortion and other issues. Two 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 Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017.

Other swing votes include several moderately pro-life Democrats, Manchin and Donnelly. 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 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.