Supreme Court Confirmation Liveblog

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Hearings scheduled to start at 7am Pacific Time tomorrow. If Republicans behave the way we expect, there will be swear words on this site.

Morning people are very suspicious IMO, though I realize most of you reading are probably in different time zones. Welcome.

7:00am PST: Rick Santorum is such an asshole

7:04am: For those who follow these things, Predict It has Kavanaugh getting 49 or fewer votes at exactly 50%, so how that changes will be easy to track.

7:06am: Sen. Grassley making it clear he views Kavanaugh as an equal victim to Dr. Blasey. Okay then

7:08am: Without Kavanaugh in the room, Sen. Grassley extolling his qualifications and how much he’s been through. I’m sure that’ll play well with undecided women voters.

7:12am: “You guys I’m the real victim here.” – Sen. Grassley.

7:15am: Honestly no idea if an opening statement that’s so defensive is a sign of confidence or concern from Sen. Grassley? Is it playing to the public for post-confirmation talking points (because the confirmation is already guaranteed)?

7:20am: Sen. Feinstein’s opening statement actually acknowledged and thanked the witness sitting in front of the committee (Dr. Blasey) before getting into her opinions on these things. That’s a…different approach than her Republican counterpart

7:26am: It must be so difficult for any witness to sit there listening to others talk while knowing the camera is constantly on them

7:29am: Sen. Feinstein listing the accusers and witnesses not asked to testify to the committee. I’m guessing Republicans will soon blame Democrats for them not being here.

7:33am: Dr. Blasey’s opening statement. She’s clearly nervous…as anyone would be.

7:37am: Predict It price for 49 or fewer votes (so confirmation fails) went down about 5% during Sen. Grassley’s statement and back up when Dr. Blasey’s statement started

7:39am: BTW, there are larger societal issues at play than this one Supreme Court seat, so tracking the ‘horse race’ aspect is not intended to downplay any of those issues. It just seems relevant as well.

7:43am: Dr. Blasey fighting back tears but bravely continuing her testimony.

7:46am: Random thought: at some point in the next two hours Dr. Blasey’s going to get angry at something asked of her. Do you think Fox News already has plans for the split screen with this part, to insinuate some of this is an act?

7:50am: I guessed in an earlier post Dr. Blasey knew going public would get difficult, but couldn’t be totally prepared for the onslaught and intensity of attention. She pretty much just confirmed that’s the case.

7:54am: Sen. Grassley up first. Or more accurately, the prosecutor speaking for the GOP side.

7:58am: Sen. Grassley literally said *six* minutes ago it’s okay to go over time…then cuts off an answer by Dr. Blasey. Okay then.

8:05am: The idea of hoping this may stay anonymous and seeing people show up at your work or home must be terrifying.

8:08am: It feels like the rules and expectations (time flexibility, what to verify) are being changed every few minutes as a way to throw Dr. Blasey off base.

8:10am: The switching between one repeat questioner (Rachel Mitchell) and a rotating cast of Democratic senators is just weird. Is it unnerving or odd for Dr. Blasey?

8:11am: Sen. Leahy “Bravery is contagious”.

8:15am: Tough. To. Watch. Dr. Blasey describing feeling like an object for other people’s amusement.

8:16am: Sen. Leahy’s statement about how memory gaps are consistent with military studies of trauma victims (not to mention common logic) should be very persuasive to anyone who’s still undecided. Not sure if anyone falls into that category now? Maybe Sen. Murkowski?

8:20am: The prosecutor is effectively poking holes about mundane stuff and using the breaks in her questioning to the ‘advantage’ of keeping Dr. Blasey off kilter.

8:24am: Sen. Durbin mainly focusing on helping Dr. Blasey relax and feel comfortable.

8:25am: Predict It now up 5% from where it started the day. Creeping up so slightly.

8:28am: Sen. Grassley reminding everyone his schedule is the real victim here. 15 minute break now.

8:43am: Senators getting seated after a break. Probably starting back up again soon.

8:50am: The focus of the GOP questioning is “where exactly is your house on a map and how far away is ‘close’?” and Democrats is “were you sexually assaulted?”

8:54am: Rachel Mitchell upping the interrogation aspect and tone. Wonder if she got instructions to be more aggressive?

8:58am: Sen. Whitehouse not asking many questions other than confirming Dr. Blasey requested the FBI investigation without knowing what would come of it.

9:01am: Sen. Grassley letting everyone know he tried really hard you guys to investigate.

9:02am: Ms. Mitchell repeating the same questions about “did you show or summarize the notes” just adds to the reality conservatives want this to be a trial of Dr. Blasey and not a search for the truth.

9:06am: Ms. Mitchell “You don’t like to fly but you’ve been on planes before.” This totally seems like an important point and not a waste of time at all

9:08am: Of course conservatives on Twitter think the airplane questions were devastating to Dr. Blasey’s credibility. How could someone who doesn’t like flying get on an airplane a couple times a year?

9:10am: Sen. Klobuchar (correctly) pointing out personal interactions are more memorable than other details

9:18am: Ms. Mitchell giving up on lines of questioning that didn’t go anywhere? Now asking about present day.

9:23am: I wonder if the five minute limit that Sen. Grassley made for this hearing is working against Republicans, because Ms. Mitchell can’t get going on a line of questioning in such a short amount of time.

9:24am: Sen. Coons asking good question to Dr. Blasey: what do you think of ‘boys will be boys’?

9:28am: Ms. Mitchell’s questioning is clearly focused on creating some gray area or questionable detail that GOP senators can use as an excuse to claim “this isn’t enough to vote no”. Will it work? I dunno

9:36am: Dr. Ford is so tough. It only takes a few minutes of break from interrogation when Democrats are talking to regain her composure.

9:37am: Fucking Sen. Grassley literally asked the attorney to not offer advice to his client.

9:42am: Really three questions about if she was recorded taking a lie detector test? Okay.

9:43am: 30 minute break. See you all in a bit.

10:26am: Predict It update: The 49 or fewer Yes votes market was at 50% before we started and is at 62% now. Personal disclaimer: I originally bought 100 shares at about 7%, sold a quarter of them at 30% and another quarter now.

10:40am: Sen. Hirono repeating the Democratic talking point – which happens to be true – that peripheral details are less likely to be remembered than the actual traumatic event.

10:43am: Does anyone whose mind isn’t already made up really care who pays for a polygraph test? Ms. Mitchell isn’t at all interested in winning over skeptics or swing voters watching at home…she’s trying to find excuses Senators can use to justify Yes votes.

10:46am: Ms. Mitchell essentially asking ‘Did any Democrats speak for you and are you a partisan hack’.

10:52am: Tweet perfectly sums things up:

10:56am: Sen. Booker with a complimentary statement, and now Ms. Mitchell is back to the finances. Really?

11:01am: Sen. Harris has a presence about her. She’s an incredible prosecutor…they way she turned the accusations about Dr. Blasey missing details and not reporting into a reminder she’s gone above what most would do in this situation.

11:09am: Dr. Blasey with a well said point. Why would her friend remember this party since nothing happened to her at it?

11:10am: If Ms. Mitchell is leading to a bombshell, she’s ramping up to whatever it is…

11:12am: And nothing yet. How many other GOP Senators will she be speaking for?

11:13am: Sen. Blumenthal seems to be the most aggressive Democrat with Sen. Grassley and the only one to namedrop Trump I believe. Maybe his lack of Presidential ambitions and safe seat gives him that flexibility?

11:15am: And that’s a wrap for Dr. Blasey. The online and pundit consensus seems to be she was credible and powerful.

Republican Senators interviewed basically said without a time machine to witness the events they weren’t convinced, but none of them were viewed as swing votes. Sens. Collins, Murkowski, Flake and ______ will have their next public comments or statements parsed very finely.

11:20am: Sen. Grassley said a 45 minute break, which probably means over an hour. See you then.

12:10pm: Judge Kavanaugh sits down for his testimony and questions. I agree with CNN commentators who predicted he’ll agree Dr. Blasey was sexually assaulted and they ran in the same circles (“for a short time” probably), but he was the not perpretator.

12:11pm: I just watched Dr. Blasey’s testimony and I’m mentally exhausted. I’m a little proud I waited until 12:06pm to pour a whiskey on the rocks.

12:14pm: Kavanaugh more combative than I would have expected. Also claiming the delay was unfair…let’s just say that’s debatable.

12:15pm: Kavanaugh: I’m the victim here, not the woman.

12:18pm: I kind of get now why Trump likes this guy so much. He has the exact same ‘attack the messenger and claim a conspiracy’ attitude that Trump and anyone else who views straight white male privilege as a birthright (disclaimer: I’m all three).

12:20pm: Why is Kavanaugh carrying himself like he’s Sean Hannity? Isn’t the whole point of talking heads to let the candidate/nominee stay above the fray? This can’t be good for his chances is it?

12:24pm: Personal opinion: I actually believe the barely held back tears are real. Judge Kavanaugh’s lived an incredibly privileged life and has always gotten the benefit of doubt and people deferring to him. He’s never had to deal with being held accountable for his actions.

12:28pm: Just like Ms. Mitchell’s line of questioning, Kavanaugh’s opening statement seems designed to rally the base (based on conservative Twitter comments it seems to working) and not convince anyone on the fence or undecided.

12:30pm: Which makes sense for him. There’s no re-election in six years for SCOTUS.

12:36pm: Even if these calendars are really from 1982 (seems questionable) no one’s going to believe you included every party where you were drinking underage.

12:39pm: Predict It 49 or fewer (i.e., failed confirmation) down about 5% since Kavanaugh’s testimony started.

12:43pm: Shouldn’t a highly educated person with decades of experience as a judge be able to speak in more nuanced wording and tone? Also this is a long opening statement. I’m no historian but this has to be unusual in that regard as well?

12:48pm: I’m running out of things to say because my brain’s still processing a federal judge repeatedly talking about the his lack of sex life on national TV, but I can’t believe he’s pushing so hard into the victim mode here.

12:56pm: I didn’t realize Ms. Mitchell was doing the questioning for Kavanaugh as well. It makes sense for consistency and to pretend her attendance wasn’t only to avoid the bad optics of 11 men questioning Dr. Blasey.

1:02pm: Will that ‘it took 10 days’ talking point work? I’m honestly not sure. He also has to know hearings can’t be done properly in 24 hours, but betting (probably accurately) that will sound good to anyone watching.

1:07pm: I drank beer. I like beer. I still like beer. He’s on the Marco Rubio talking point repeat setting.

1:12pm: While on break, this is a very good point that could easily be true.

1:29pm: Sen. Leahy is the first of many upcoming Democrats to remind the committee hasn’t subpoenaed an alleged witness. This may be smart…Kavanaugh’s repeated talking points may get repetitive quickly Or he’ll contradict himself.

1:35pm: Dr. Blasey gave an affirmative answer to every question, even if it was ‘I’m not sure’. Kavanaugh avoided answering Sen. Leahy’s question. Let’s see if that continues.

1:39pm: Ms. Mitchell asking similar probing questions for Kavanaugh the way she did for Dr. Blasey, but not to the same level of detail and not repeating the same questions for 3-5 minutes at a time.

1:41pm: Sen. Durbin coming off as bullying IMO and Kavanaugh is handling it well.

1:45pm: Kavanaugh has a real difficulty with just saying “yes” or “no”. It’s happening so repeatedly it comes off as evasive during the live hearings, but on nightly news or online recaps that likely won’t come through.

1:48pm: Sen. Graham’s moral outrage is…I don’t even know.

1:51pm: Sen. Graham has moved completely into ‘do anything for Trump’ category. Any fair-mindedness is gone. The idea this has been the most awful thing in political history is just ridiculous. But it’s clearly given Kavanaugh more confidence in his standing.

1:56pm: Seriously Kavanaugh can’t answer yes or no, repeating his talking points and acting so aggrieved. But that may reinforce support among Republicans.

1:58pm: Seriously Sen. Coryn? He’s a McCarthy victim now? For credible accusations of sexual assault?

2:00pm: ‘Police state’. Sen. Coryn literally compared Dr. Blasey’s allegations and sworn statement that *may* keep someone off the Supreme Court to living in a police state. Fuck the GOP.

2:01pm: The ability to play the victim is an incredible ability of the most partisan conservatives. They’ll shoot someone and blame the dead body for getting blood on the floor.

2:06pm: Kavanaugh keeps asking Senators questions instead of answering their questions. Makes him look like an arrogant ass, but I’m sure Trump loves it.

2:09pm: Republicans are clearly terrified to have the FBI investigate things. Maybe they know he’s guilty, but more likely they don’t know what it will conclude and realize it won’t be completed by the midterms.

2:10pm: FWIW Predict It now below 50% on the confirmation vote falling short, so real money bettors view Kavanaugh’s odds of confirmation are slightly increased today.

 2:30pm: Good point by the talking heads on CNN: after claiming this is a Democratic conspiracy, can Kavanaugh be trusted to still be impartial if confirmed to the Court?

2:32pm: I said 18 months ago if Trump were to be impeached, I’d hope Pence and Ryan go with him and would feel comfortable with Sen. Hatch as POTUS due to his stature as a bipartisan statesman. Oops.

2:33pm: Sen. Hatch again with the ‘there’s so many people the Judge hasn’t assaulted’ defense.

2:36pm: I’m only on whiskey number two, if anyone’s curious.

2:39pm: Kavanaugh: “People who weren’t in the room during the alleged assault have no memory of the assault.” Keep repeating that today but it’ll take two minutes of recap to point out the hole in that talking point.

2:48pm: Sen. Sasse sounds like a potential swing vote who’s voting yes.

2:51pm: Is Sen. Blumenthal about to hit him hard?

2:53pm: Kavanaugh apparently successfully stonewalling Sen. Blumenthal.

3:00pm: My brain’s slowing down, in part because Kavanaugh’s insistence on filibustering every Democratic question with his same talking points means nothing really happens there and then a Republican apologizes for all he has to go through. On what I presume is the final break now.

3:12pm: Sen. Hirono with the most direct questioning of Kavanaugh yet, and he’s obviously refusing to call his roommate a liar while claiming everything he said ‘not accurate’.

3:18pm: Sen. Tillis joining in the outrage Kavanaugh has to answer questions about credible accusations of crimes.

3:19pm: Republican conclusion seems to be ‘white church-going family men can’t do bad things’. I’m guessing that won’t play well with voters in November

3:20pm: There’s going to be a great video later tonight of Kavanaugh refusing to answer with Yes or No.

3:23: Sen. Booker is done with the stonewalling.

3:26pm: I can’t wait until Ted Cruz’s concession speech.

3:29pm: Cruz asking why Democrats haven’t asked about the other allegations besides Dr. Blasey’s. He left out they’ve each run out of time because Kavanaugh is filibustering each question instead of answering Yes or No.

3:30pm: Predict It confirmation failing down to 40% and was at 36% a few minutes ago. It was at 50% to start the day and up above 60% after Dr. Blasey’s testimony.

3:36pm: Sen. Harris is up.

3:40pm: I don’t think Kavanaugh wants Mark Judge appearing in person, either due to what he’ll say or how he’ll come across.

3:42pm: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/09/27/how-dare-you-do-this-to-brett-kavanaugh/?utm_term=.685f251ef8da

3:43pm: Sen. Flake probably has to vote No for his nomination to fail, unless you believe Sen. Collins may do so (I don’t think she’ll be the deciding vote).

3:44pm: And he was sufficiently noncommittal to keep both doors open.

3:45pm: Sen. Kennedy asks Kavanaugh to confirm he didn’t do these things, which he does.

3:45pm: I don’t really know what to think will happen at this point. I believe Dr. Blasey was telling the truth about an assault and would be shocked if it wasn’t Kavanaugh, and think it’s very likely it happened just as she remembered it and he truly doesn’t remember.
Did anything happen to convince two Republicans to vote No? It’s too soon to tell, and will depend greatly on how this plays on the news and social media tonight.
Also…the Republican ability to create a catchphrase is way better than their ability to govern. “Search & Destroy” will be a meme and talking point through Election Day.

Thanks for reading along!

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