The Kavanaugh Vote Could Ride on a Wedding in Montana (But Probably Won't)

Supreme Court

Here is a very wild and dumb thing that happened tonight: Republican Senator Steve Daines announced that he may not be able to vote in the pivotal vote to confirm or deny Judge Brett Kavanaugh a Supreme Court seat this weekend, because it’s his daughter’s wedding. In Montana. Majority leader Mitch McConnell announced that he planned to call for a procedural vote at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, which means the final vote could happen sometime over the weekend.

The Republicans have a very slim, single-vote majority in the Senate right now. They can afford to lose one vote, of course, because in the event of a 50-50 tie, Pence gets to come in and vote Kavanaugh in. Daines has previously been a confirmed vote for Kavanaugh (that’s the two of them shaking hands in the header image), so if he skips the vote, the Republicans still have a 50-49 advantage. Still, for Democrats desperately hanging on to two of their own votes, any change is a ray of hope. The ideal situation would be for Daines to miss the vote, and either Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski or maybe Ben Sasse to flip and vote against confirmation, giving Democrats a slim 49-50 win. If Daines votes (he almost certainly will), the Democrats need two of those names to flip, to win 49-51.

The wedding in Montana is on Saturday, per a Washington Post reporter also talking to Daines’ team. After the procedural vote in the Senate (called cloture), the Senate will have a cap of 30 hours of debate left before a full floor vote. It really depends on the timing of this wedding and the vote. If McConnell thinks he really needs Daines’ vote, it’s likely that he won’t call for a full floor vote until he’s sure Daines’ can attend.

CORRECTION 9:25 P.M. 10/4/2018: This story originally stated that the full floor vote to confirm Kavanaugh was planned for as early as 10:30 A.M. Friday, making it unlikely that Daines would miss. The full floor vote has not been scheduled, the vote on Friday morning is a procedural vote to call cloture. The story has been edited throughout to reflect this distinction.

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