AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Should Judge Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. Supreme Court, experts say Texas has much to gain, or lose.
As Kavanaugh’s Senate judiciary committee hearings began Tuesday, congressional chaos ensued. Democratic lawmakers tried to derail the hearing, crying foul over procedural concerns, emploring their colleagues to wait until more documents were made available. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, led by Texans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, remained steadfast in moving the hearing forward.
“I am disappointed that despite his exemplary qualifications and outstanding record, so many of our colleagues across the aisle have announced their opposition even before he was nominated,” Cornyn said while being interrupted by shouting protesters. “The level of disingenuousness and hyperbole even by today’s standards is extraordinary.”
At the conclusion of Cruz’s opening remarks, he said he was “confident Judge Kavanaugh will become Justice Kavanaugh and will be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.”
University of Texas law and government professor Lucas Powe said Kavanaugh’s pending confirmation was a Republican dream come true, four decades in the making.
“I think they are all ready to give him a big wet kiss,” Powe said Tuesday.
Powe expected Kavanaugh to affect Texas in three major ways if he were to replace swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy: abortion, capital punishment and affirmative action.
“He does not have to overrule Roe v. Wade to make abortion very difficult to get,” Powe said.
Despite what he called a high cost of convicting people, Powe thinks Kavanaugh would leave capital punishment alone rather than seek to change it.
“Over the last decade or so there was increasing skepticism about capital punishment on the Supreme Court, and I wondered if at some point in time a majority of justices, five of them, might say this just isn’t worth it anymore,” he said.
Kavanaugh is also expected to side with Republicans on affirmative action, Powe said, citing lawsuits from the University of Texas that made it to the high court.
Powe said not much has changed vote-wise from the day two months ago that Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump, leaving few roadblocks to his confirmation.
Kavanaugh will be questioned by the Senate panel starting Wednesday.