Minnesota political minds weigh in ahead of Kavanaugh judiciary hearing

With Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy hanging his robe, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has spent the weekend bracing for a grueling senate judiciary hearing. 

The nomination has Democrats working hard to protect the left flank, but there hasn't been a lot of public outrage over Kavanaugh's nomination. So, while there will be a serious attempt to block Kavanaugh's appointment, analysts say opponents are unlikely to be successful in the effort.

David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University, points out that this will be the second person President Trump gets to put on the Supreme Court.

With the high court appointment carrying the potential to last upwards of 20 years, this week's senate judiciary hearing will no doubt bring high drama to Capitol Hill.

“He is going to be absolutely grilled by Democrats on abortion and a host of other issues,” said Larry Jacobs, a political studies professor at the University of Minnesota.

Professors Jacobs and Schultz expect the picture of Kavanaugh’s character to be painted as both a champion for women and a threat to women’s rights – depending on who’s holding the microphone at the hearing.

“The Republicans will ask softball questions to try to make Brett Kavanaugh look good. Democrats will try to paint Brett Kavanaugh into a box to try to force him to make comments about, let us say Roe v. Wade or reproductive rights,” Schultz said.

Previously on the fence were Republican Senators Rand Paul, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – who have each since signaled support for Kavanaugh.

“The strategy for the Democrats is to try to catch Kavanagh in a mistake - perhaps a misstatement or a lie - and take that moment and make it go viral,” Jacobs said.

After the conviction of Paul Manafort and a plea deal from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Democrats have pressed for more documents from Kavanaugh’s time at the White House during the 
George W. Bush administration.

"...They will be revelatory as to what he thinks, particularly about executive power and how he will enable Donald Trump to enlarge and expand the power of the president," Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told Fox News.

Yet by the numbers, unified Republicans have the upper hand, with a 51-47 senate majority.

“I don’t see any way in which Kavanaugh is defeated,” Jacobs said.

Barring any bombshell revelations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is confident Kavanaugh will be confirmed on the Supreme Court bench by this time next month.