Americans Split on High Court Nominee Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is shown during a visit to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Kavanaugh is on Capitol Hill to meet with Republican leaders as the battle begins over his nomination to the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CN) – Americans are divided along party lines over whether U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed, but agree that the decision is an important one, the Pew Research Center reported Tuesday.

In a Pew survey of 1,007 adults between July 11-15, 41 percent of respondents said the Senate should confirm Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, while 36 percent said senators should not confirm him.

The data indicates that Americans are showing slightly less support for Kavanaugh compared to Justice Neil Gorsuch before his confirmation hearings last year, but the difference is within the margin of error.

The divisions were more apparent when survey respondents were sorted by partisan affiliations. Seventy-three percent of Republicans said Kavanaugh should be confirmed, a 5-point dip from Gorsuch. Only 16 percent of Democratic respondents supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which is a 7-point drop from their support for Gorsuch last year.

Further, the Pew survey indicated that President Donald Trump’s nominees were more polarizing than every previous nominee in the survey, including Merrick Garland, Justice Sonya Sotomayor and Justice Samuel Alito.

Respondents did reach a consensus on the importance of addressing abortion during the nomination process. While more than two-thirds of Democratic respondents said they support questions about abortion during hearings, a Republican majority also supported questions on the issue, at 70 and 51 percent, respectively.

However, Republicans were more likely to believe that Kavanaugh would hypothetically vote against overturning Roe v. Wade, whereas a 55-percent majority of Democrats said he would vote to overturn the 1973 ruling establishing abortion rights.

In other demographics, men were more likely to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation than women, but neither men nor women reached majority support for the nominee at 49 and 33 percent, respectively.

Grouped by age, only respondents aged 50-64 indicated majority support for Kavanaugh at 51 percent. Those under 50 years old were less likely to support the nominee, with 41 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 49 declining to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Overall, Americans on both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly indicated the importance of the nomination itself to each respondent personally. In total, 83 percent of respondents said the next Supreme Court justice was at least somewhat important, if not very important. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agreed on its importance.

Absent from the survey were any questions involving Kavanaugh’s stances on issues other than abortion, including foreign spending in American elections and legal implications for a sitting president.

In previous recommendations, Kavanaugh indicated that sitting presidents should not be subject to civil lawsuits or criminal proceedings, according to an analysis from SCOTUSblog. Instead, Kavanaugh suggested that impeachment was the correct remedy and that civil and criminal proceedings could take place after removal from office.

In light of those opinions, some Democratic U.S. senators, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Corey Booker of New Jersey, have called on Kavanaugh to recuse himself from any rulings regarding the special counsel investigation if he is confirmed, which they included in questionnaires provided to the nominee Saturday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet set scheduled a confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh, but Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told CNN last week that he hopes to proceed with hearings by early September.

%d bloggers like this: