Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation chances just took a hit

On Thursday afternoon, ...

Posted: Sep 21, 2018 9:41 AM
Updated: Sep 21, 2018 9:41 AM

On Thursday afternoon, lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford indicated she would be willing to come to Washington to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee sometime next week, a major shift from her stance earlier in the week that she would not sit for an interview unless and until the FBI looked into her allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in the 1980s.

That now means that Ford is nearly certain to tell her story publicly sometime next week. And that is bad news for Kavanaugh's chances at confirmation.

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Here's why. Prior to her latest response, the growing expectation in Washington was that Kavanaugh's confirmation had been righted after being rocked by Ford's allegation last week. The belief was that Ford would not meet the deadline of 10 a.m. Friday that Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, set to let the committee know whether she planned to attend to the Monday hearing. Which meant the hearing wouldn't happen. Which meant a vote in the Judiciary Committee would happen. And given Republicans' Senate majority -- and the unity emerging behind Kavanaugh -- that meant he was almost certainly going to be confirmed to the Court.

If I had to put a percentage on Kavanaugh's chances of confirmation prior to Thursday, I would say 90%. Maybe higher.

But assuming that Ford and Grassley can come to some sort of agreement on a) a day for her to appear next week and b) the parameters of her testimony, Kavanaugh's confirmation chances drop -- maybe precipitously. (For the record: I am assuming that Ford will be accommodated -- even if the hearing on Monday needs to be moved back a few days. Everyone -- from Grassley to President Donald Trump -- has expressed a desire to hear her side of the story.)

It's hard to imagine that Ford will cut anything other than a sympathetic figure in front of the committee. An accomplished professional woman sacrificing her privacy -- and her safety -- to step forward to tell her story, facing down a group, at least on the Republican side, of mostly men? It's a visual Republicans badly wanted to avoid. It now seems likely they will not dodge that scene.

For Kavanaugh's part, he has already repeatedly denied the Ford allegations. He is likely to do so again -- and to lean heavily on a series of testimonials from women in his life over the years to argue that this is a case of mistaken identity or misremembering on Ford's part. And if his past testimony during his confirmation hearing is any indication, he will come across as a genuine and self-effacing.

What Kavanaugh can't control is how the senators questioning him and Ford act. And how the public watching the proceedings react to all of it. Ford testifying injects a massive amount of fluctuation and uncertainty into the proceedings. And uncertainty is Kavanaugh's enemy -- and the enemy of Republicans desperately trying to get him confirmed before the 2018 midterms.

The Point: None of the above means Kavanaugh can't or won't be confirmed to the Supreme Court. He may well still make it. But assuming Ford makes good on her willingness to appear before the Judiciary Committee next week, the future for Kavanaugh is now much blurrier.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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