Senator Donnelly meets with Supreme Court nominee

NOW: Senator Donnelly meets with Supreme Court nominee


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly was one of only three Democrats who voted to confirm President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee last year.

But this year, he's up for reelection and Republicans are turning up the pressure to support the president's latest pick. 

Donnelly sat down with Judge Brett Kavanaugh Wednesday for the first time since his announcement in July.

His delayed meeting with the nominee drew criticism from folks on the right.

“The nominees have become more contentious because of both sides wanting to get someone on there who will perhaps sway the vote in their favor,” said Dr. Tom Spencer, an adjunct history professor at IUSB.

Decades of party politics at the Capitol has taken the spotlight off of the nominees for the nation’s highest court.

“I would say starting in the 1980s, 1990s with the so called culture wars,” said Dr. Spencer.

During that time, social issues like abortion and LGBT rights were at the forefront and many eyes were on the Supreme Court’s decisions on those matters.

With two nominations in just two years, and potentially more in the near future, could this president picks revisit those precedents?

“The Supreme Court with much trepidation wouldn’t consider overturning something of the past, only if they have to, but I just don’t think we’re there yet,” said Dr. Timothy Willig, IUSB History Department Chair.

Donnelly questioned the president’s latest pick about precedent during their first encounter.

“I had a wide-ranging conversation and productive meeting with Judge Kavanaugh,” said Donnelly in a statement to ABC 57 News. “This was an important opportunity to sit down and talk in-depth with Judge Kavanaugh about: his record; experience working in the Bush Administration and serving on the federal bench; and views on the role of the Supreme Court as well as on a range of issues including precedent, health care, and judicial independence.”

Kavanaugh will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 4.

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