Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump's emergency declaration
More Dems come out in public opposition to Kavanaugh
Several Democratic senators are coming off the fence to announce they will oppose President Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) became the latest Democrats to say they will vote against Kavanaugh. Both senators announced their opposition on Monday.
"While much of Judge Kavanaugh's record remains a mystery, what we do know is extremely troubling and dangerously out of step with the American people, particularly on critical issues including executive power, abortion rights and pre-existing conditions," Shaheen said in a statement.
She added that Kavanaugh's "inability to remember if he has discussed the Special Counsel's investigation with President Trump's defense team is extremely alarming."
Hassan also pointed to the impact Kavanaugh could have on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established the right to an abortion, and executive authority, where Democrats worry Kavanaugh would give Trump a wide berth.
"We need to be clear that Judge Kavanaugh, the people who have promoted him throughout his career and who precleared his nomination, and President Trump could all lead us down a path toward further criminalizing abortion," Hassan wrote in a Medium post announcing her opposition.
Whitehouse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said that Kavanaugh "ducked" their questions last week and failed to reassure lawmakers.
"The Supreme Court needs to stand alone, tall and independent, and Americans should feel confident their cases will be decided on the merits. ... Judge Kavanaugh has failed to give Americans that assurance, and he will not get my vote," he said.
Kavanaugh, if confirmed, is expected to tilt the Supreme Court to the right for decades by providing Republicans with a more conservative justice comparable to Anthony Kennedy, who was the court's swing vote and who Kavanaugh would succeed.
As the party's 2016 vice presidential nominee, Kaine had drawn criticism from progressives for staying on the fence.
Kaine said in a statement that a Supreme Court justice needs "independence," predicting that Trump would spark "an avalanche of litigation" that could work its way up to the court.
"This nomination - in a manner unique in our history - is akin to a President picking a juror for his own trial. And thus the stakes are high - we must make sure that the nominee has the character of independence that the Framers sought when they designed our government," Kaine said.
Kavanaugh only needs a simple majority to be confirmed in the Senate after Republicans nixed the 60-vote filibuster for Supreme Court nominees last year, meaning Democrats can't block him on their own.
Each of the Democrats who have announced their opposition since the hearing were widely expected to be "no" votes.
Instead, the fight will come down to a handful of moderate senators who have yet to announce how they'll vote.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) are seen as the Democrats most likely to vote "yes" on Kavanaugh. Several other red- and purple-state Democrats - including Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who wasn't in the Senate for the Gorsuch fight - also remain undecided.
The two are viewed as potential swing votes because they've previously broken with their party on ObamaCare repeal, abortion legislation and other Trump nominees, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Democrats were hoping that a renewed focus on Kavanaugh's position on abortion would help sway the two senators. They've seized on a 2003 email where Kavanaugh suggested cutting a paragraph out of a draft op-ed that charactered Roe v. Wade as widely accepted as "settled" law.
Murkowski was expected to review the email over the weekend. Meanwhile, Collins told reporters on Friday that it was "obvious" that he was editing an op-ed.
"It's obvious to me that he was editing an op-ed piece and he said something that is accurate, which is not all legal scholars would agree that Roe v. Wade was precedent, binding precedent," Collins said.
Democrats have also focused their fire on Republicans' handling of documents from Kavanaugh's time working in the George W. Bush White House. Republicans refused to request documents from the three year period Kavanaugh served as staff secretary.
Senators have been getting documents from Kavanaugh's work as a White House lawyer from a legal team working for Bush. The National Archives is sorting through the same paperwork but told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that it wouldn't be able to complete his request until late October.
Democrats argue the setup allows Republicans to cherry pick what information gets publicly released before the Senate's vote on Kavanaugh, which is expected to take place later this month.
Shaheen added on Monday that senators could not fulfill their "advise and consent" duties without viewing all of Kavanaugh's record.
"The lack of documentation production and the nominee's refusal to answer basic questions ... make it impossible to conclude anything other than the Senate Majority and Judge Kavanaugh are deliberately concealing his record from the American people," she said.
-Updated at 5:36 p.m.