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Kavanaugh, Ford Testify Thursday


Democrats in the dark on eve of historic Kavanaugh hearing. Politico:
“Tens of millions of people will be watching Christine Blasey Ford when she appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a potentially history-shaping hearing on Thursday. Yet Ford has had no apparent contact with the people who could help her most through the ordeal: Senate Democrats. Though Ford’s lawyers have been in touch with aides in both parties, interviews with more than a half-dozen Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee indicate there’s been no coordination with Ford’s camp in the run-up to the hearing. That lack of communication underscores the political minefield both Democrats and the 51-year-old college professor are crossing ahead of the hearing, with President Donald Trump and the GOP tarring the minority for a “smear campaign” against Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court pick. Ford has a team of well-connected attorneys with Democratic ties to lean on — as well as a veteran Democratic strategist — but Democratic senators acknowledge they’re standing behind her with little certainty about how she’ll fare.”

GOP Schedules Kavanaugh Votes

Republicans are already planning to vote on Kavanaugh next week, even before the hearing with his accuser. The Hill: “Republicans are already planning to vote on Kavanaugh next Week, Even Before The Hearing With His Accuser. The Hill: “A vote to favorably recommend Brett Kavanaugh for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, less than a day after senators and counsel are to question the 53-year-old appellate court judge, as well as Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford, about her accusations that the nominee sexually assaulted her in 1982. On Tuesday, Republicans amplified their public support for Kavanaugh, who denies every element and detail of accusations against him. GOP confidence grew that the nominee could be confirmed by a narrow margin within days (The Hill). Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) informed the top Democrat on the panel, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) that a scheduled Thursday hearing will not be delayed to investigate another woman’s accusation, which surfaced in The New Yorker this week, or to run accusers’ information to ground with the help of the FBI (The Hill). He later announced that committee Republicans, 11 males, will rely on Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question both Kavanaugh and Ford (The Washington Post). Mitchell, a Republican, has worked for the Maricopa County attorney’s office since 1993, and is on leave (The New York Times). Senate GOP leaders, who are racing the clock to move Kavanaugh’s confirmation through committee and to the floor, advised colleagues to stick around Washington this weekend for a possible final vote.”

What Might Stop Kavanaugh’s Nomination

Here’s how Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination could fall apart. AlterNet: “Several key senators appear to be on the edge. With a 51-49 GOP majority in the Senate and Vice President Mike Pence acting as the tie-breaking vote, it would only take two Republican senators voting “no” to completely scuttle Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Looming over the process is the upcoming testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who is prepared to testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegations that Kavanaugh forced himself on her, pinned her down on a bed, groped her, and tried to take off her clothes at a party while they were both in high school. Other allegations, including those of Deborah Ramirez, also threaten to curtail the nomination. There are signs that these allegations are weighing on key senators — and if two of them express explicit opposition to Kavanaugh’s appointment, that would likely kill his nomination for good.”

GOP Refuses To Renew Violence Against Women Act

House GOP Refusing to Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act. Common Dreams: “While Republican lawmakers have attempted to push through a vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination amid multiple sexual assault allegations against him, none of the party’s members have signed on to support a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which expires at the end of September. Democratic legislators have joined women’s rights and anti-domestic violence groups in calling for the law to be fully reauthorized and strengthened with proposals put forth in a version sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), while Republican leaders want VAWA to be extended only until December 7 as part of the House’s stopgap spending bill.”

ND Curbs Native Voting Rights

Voter ID law revived in major setback to Native American voters. ThinkProgress: “A federal appeals court on Monday sided with North Dakota in a lawsuit over the state’s voter ID law, presenting a significant burden to Native American voters ahead of the November election. A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a lower court’s injunction which had required the state to accept a longer list of potential forms of identification at the polls, including IDs that show a voter’s ‘current mailing address’ instead of their ‘current residential street address.’ The court found that the state would be “irreparably harmed by the injunction during the general election in November, 2018,” according to the order. Many homes on Native American reservations lack traditional postal addresses. Instead, Native voters often rely on P.O. boxes which could be located outside their precincts. Furthermore, there are no motor-vehicle license offices on North Dakota’s reservations, making it difficult for Native voters to obtain the necessary forms of ID. Native Americans make up more than five percent of North Dakota and represent a critical demographic in the sparsely populated state, where Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is trailing in the polls as she campaigns for reelection.”

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