Will Jeff Flake Flake Out Again?

By Susan Kuebler

With the Senate vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court now moving forward, the question looming in the minds of many Americans is – will Jeff Flake, who called for an FBI investigation before agreeing to support his nomination, Flake out again.

Flake is definitely one for making impassioned speeches about honor, and responsibility, and duty on the floor of the Senate.  He even showed a smidgen of it last Thursday after an elevator confrontation by two women who were survivors of sexual assault.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you,” one of the women told him. Sounds like what my mother used to say when I was getting a scolding too.

This nomination has divided our country more than any event I can remember in recent history.  So-called political shenanigans by the Democrats, in particular Senator Dianne Feinstein, are nothing new in politics.  “Dirty tricks” were invented by Republican operatives during the Nixon administration. This is not an excuse.  It is stating a fact.

But it is important to look at the various groups who are now calling for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn:

The editors of American Magazine, a Jesuit publication, called for his withdrawal on the day following his hearing.  Don’t forget that Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Prep, a Jesuit school.  “While we previously supported the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh on the basis of his legal credentials and reputation as a committed textualist, it is now clear that his nomination should be withdrawn.”

Variety Magazine reported that a group TIMES UP, that has been actively supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination in recent weeks, called for his withdrawal as well.  “Given the multiple serious allegations against him, Kavanaugh can no longer credibly serve on the nation’s highest court. His confirmation would compromise the credibility of the Court for generations to come.”

These calls are based on Kavanaugh’s moral ability to serve honorable on the Supreme Court.  But there are other groups calling for his withdrawal based, not on the stories of his drinking, or the sexual assault claims, but on his judicial temperament evidenced during his testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Now there are more than 1,000 law professors have said that Kavanaugh should not be appointed:

Then last night The National Council of Churches, a body that represents 38 denominations and over 45 million people worldwide, issued the following statement calling for Kavanaugh’s withdrawal:

There are good people on both sides of the argument over Kavanaugh’s nomination. Many sincerely feel that he was the victim of a last-minute “hit job” by the Democrats. Others share the views of the 1,000 law professors that Kavanaugh’s statements made on Thursday disqualify him based on political bias and the lack of judicial temperament – qualities that he is demonstrating now – not 38 years ago.

The White House announced during the middle of the night that the FBI has concluded its in follow-up background investigation.  That would mean it devoted 5 days to the investigation. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that only one copy of the report will be made available to Senators to read in a secured location on Thursday and kept in a locked safe. He has already called for a vote as early as Saturday.

Under normal circumstances, it is unusual for a Senator to go against the wishes of their Leadership on a vote.  In a vote for a Supreme Court nominee, it is practically unheard of.  The Republicans hold a very slim majority in the Senate. If one Republican Senator dissents, and no Democrat Senators in red states switch sides, then we are left with a tie vote – which would be decided by the President of the Senate – Vice President Mike Pence.

There are still several Republican Senators who have not committed to vote for Kavanaugh – among them Senators Flake, Collins of Maine, and Murkowski of Alaska.  All of them are under enormous pressure right now, not just from their constituents, but from the men like McConnell who can give you a choice committee assignment like Foreign Relations or consign you to Committee on Small Business.  Flake is not up for re-election, but then he probably doesn’t want to burn his bridges behind him when he leaves the Senate.

The FBI report will provide the cover they need to vote “yes.”

So don’t expect courage.  Don’t expect honor.  Don’t expect country before party.  Those ideals died with John McCain.