For President Donald Trump’s White House, there is no Plan B. Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, must be confirmed, at least according to Axios, which reported on internal White House talks Sunday, citing five individuals briefed on the matter.
A senior source involved in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process said the following.
“He’s too big to fail now. Our base, our voters, our side, people are so mad. There’s nowhere to go. We’re gonna make them f**king vote. [Joe] Manchin in West Virginia, in those red states. Joe Donnelly? He said he’s a no? Fine, we’ll see how that goes. There will be a vote on him [Kavanaugh]. It will be a slugfest of a week.”
Axios sources’ comments are in reference to Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly’s opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Both men are thought to be possible swing votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
On September 28, as Reuters reported, Manchin issued a statement, expressing support for Jeff Flake’s initiative and calls for an FBI investigation of sexual allegations against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Likewise, according to the Indianapolis Star, after waiting months to weigh in on Kavanaugh, Joe Donnelly said that he was opposing the nomination, stressing that Americans should listen to survivors of sexual assault.
But, in spite of this, the White House reportedly remains adamant, confident, and without a backup plan.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation will not collapse, and there is no time before this fall’s midterms to put up a new nominee, White House officials told Axios.
“You nominate any man and how do you guarantee… How do you vet for that? For an accusation that’s 36 years old? You can’t,” an individual briefed on Kavanaugh dialogue inside the White House said.
NEW from @jonathanvswan: For the White House, it's Brett Kavanaugh or bust. They have no Plan B and there's not even discussion of one. "He's too big to fail now," said a senior source involved in the confirmation process. https://t.co/5KChoJSGC1
— Axios (@axios) September 30, 2018
If Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination does indeed collapse, Senate Republicans have at least four possible alternatives to choose from, according to Vox.
Thomas Hardiman, a Federal appellate judge who was reportedly President Trump’s second choice to fill the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia. Hardiman, however, does not enjoy unanimous conservative support, since he is closer to the center than other potential alternatives.
Amy Coney Barrett, whose gender might be “less galvanizing” to progressives, and who was on Donald Trump’s list for Anthony Kennedy’s seat, is another option. Barrett, however, has been too explicit on abortion, which could turn out to be a problem for Senate Republicans.
Raymond Kethledge would, according to Vox, be a safe choice for President Trump, since he is thought to be a loyal Republican, and a staunch conservative. His problem, however, could be the fact that he doesn’t have Brett Kavanaugh’s elite pedigree.
Lastly, Amul Thapar, who President Trump floated as a Supreme Court candidate in September, 2016, is also one of the alternatives, since he is reportedly strongly backed by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.