Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gets major boost with Rand Paul backing

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gets major boost with Rand Paul backing

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gets major boost with Rand Paul backing

Rand Paul said Monday he will support President Donald Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S.

Kavanaugh, tapped to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, planned to meet later on Monday with Senator Joe Manchin, who was one of three Democrats to support Trump's first nominee to the high court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Paul said that he had concerns about Kavanaugh's record on privacy and government data collection.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh, 53, as Supreme Court justice on July 9, calling him a man with "impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law".

Manchin, who could be pivotal in the confirmation vote, said the pair had a "productive meeting", but he did not hint at how he will vote.

Manchin was one of three Democrats to support Gorsuch, along with Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. She was confirmed anyway, thanks to Democratic swing votes.

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With Republican Sen. John McCain still back home in Arizona battling brain cancer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can't afford to lose a single Republican vote.

"As the senator from West Virginia, I have a constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on a nominee to fill Supreme Court vacancies and I take that responsibility seriously", he said in a statement.

The Democratic senator told reporters Friday evening that he wants to do his "due diligence" on Kavanaugh's work.

"Will Sen. Manchin stand with the people of West Virginia in supporting President Trump's extraordinarily qualified Supreme Court nominee, or will he stand with the extremists in his party like Chuck Schumer?" said Carrie Severino, the group's chief counsel.

Unlike Kavanaugh's well-photographed meetings with Republican senators on Monday, the Manchin meeting was not accompanied by an open media "spray" or media availability. The senator has also asked his constituents to send him questions for the meeting. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., alleged at the time that Kavanaugh may have misled Congress.

Depending on turnout at the time of the vote, Democrats will likely need all 49 members of their caucus to vote against confirmation and then persuade one or two Republicans to vote against Judge Kavanagaugh as well. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME, who have bucked the Republican Party on previous issues dealing with women's reproductive rights.

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