Ka­vanaugh dis­ap­proval out­num­ber­ing sup­port

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Robert Barnes and Emily Guskin

WASH­ING­TON» More Amer­i­cans dis­ap­prove of Brett Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion to the Supreme Court than ap­prove, and a nar­row ma­jor­ity says con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the new jus­tice should not end with his el­e­va­tion to the court, ac­cord­ing to a new Wash­ing­ton Post­ABC News poll.

The Sen­ate’s 50­48 vote last week­end to ap­prove the 53­year­old Ka­vanaugh’s life­time ap­point­ment was the clos­est on a Supreme Court jus­tice since the 1880s, and the poll shows the pub­lic’s re­ac­tion was al­most as di­vided.

It also sug­gests the tu­mul­tuous bat­tle over his nom­i­na­tion could harm the court’s rep­u­ta­tion as the non­par­ti­san branch of govern­ment.

The sur­vey — con­ducted dur­ing Ka­vanaugh’s first week on the bench — shows that 43 per­cent of Amer­i­cans be­lieve the court’s rul­ings will be more po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s sec­ond nom­i­nee on the court, com­pared with 10 per­cent who said they will be less po­lit­i­cal. To 39 per­cent of the pub­lic, Ka­vanaugh’s pres­ence will make no dif­fer­ence in the de­gree of par­ti­san­ship.

Asked how the Ka­vanaugh de­bate would im­pact their midterm vote, slightly more say it makes them more in­clined to sup­port Democrats for Congress than Repub­li­cans. Women say the episode draws them to­ward Democrats over Repub­li­cans by a 16­point mar­gin, while men are more evenly split.

While many of the re­sults in the poll fall along fa­mil­iar par­ti­san lines, it also found that po­lit­i­cal in­de­pen­dents are more sus­pi­cious than sup­port­ive of the new jus­tice. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, 55 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents say there should be fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Ka­vanaugh, while 40 per­cent are op­posed.

The stakes were high, and the party­line fight over Ka­vanaugh was bru­tal. It was marked by al­le­ga­tions of ex­ces­sive drink­ing in high school and col­lege and a teenage sex­ual as­sault and other mis­con­duct. Democrats at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing fur­ther ac­cused Ka­vanaugh of dis­hon­esty over his an­swers to ques­tions re­gard­ing his work in the Ge­orge W. Bush White House.

Repub­li­can sen­a­tors said the alle­ gations of sex­ual mis­con­duct were un­cor­rob­o­rated and vi­cious, the re­sult of des­per­ate at­tempts from Democrats and lib­eral groups to keep Ka­vanaugh — for 12 years a re­spected con­ser­va­tive judge on the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the D.C. Cir­cuit — off the high court.

At a White House cer­e­mony Mon­day night, Trump apol­o­gized to the new jus­tice for “the ter­ri­ble pain and suf­fer­ing” he and his fam­ily were “forced to en­dure.” Trump said Ka­vanaugh had been found “in­no­cent” of the charges against him, even though the sen­a­tors came to no such de­ter­mi­na­tion.

The poll sug­gests dis­agree­ment with Trump’s view that Ka­vanaugh had been ex­on­er­ated, and does not sup­port the no­tion of a na­tional back­lash against the at­tacks on Ka­vanaugh, as some Repub­li­cans have sug­gested.

Rather, the re­sults show the po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences may be more mixed. Slightly more reg­is­tered vot­ers say the Ka­vanaugh con­fir­ma­tion pro­ceed­ings make them more likely to sup­port Democrats for Congress than Repub­li­cans in the up­com­ing midterm elec­tions, though a 39 per­cent plu­ral­ity say it doesn’t make a dif­fer­ence.

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