Senators representing less than half the U.S. are about to confirm a nominee opposed by most Americans

“There have been five presidents who assumed the office after having lost the popular vote,” according to the Washington Post. “Between them, they nominated 12 justices who ended up serving on the Supreme Court. On Saturday, with President Trump’s nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh poised to pass the Senate, the number will climb to 13.

“Kavanaugh, though, has a distinct honor: He will be the first justice nominated by someone who lost the popular vote to earn his seat on the bench with support from senators representing less than half of the country while having his nomination opposed by a majority of the country.

“Let’s walk through it.

“Obviously, Trump got almost 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Clinton got about 48 percent of the votes cast for president. Trump got about 46 percent.

“But that by itself doesn’t tell the whole story. Nearly half of U.S. residents over the age of 18 didn’t vote. Of the entire over-18 population, Trump got only about 25 percent of the possible votes. Clinton got about 26 percent.

“Again, Trump is not alone in failing to win the popular vote. President George W. Bush is the other recent president to have that same fate. And, like Trump, Bush was also fairly unpopular when he made his Supreme Court nominations. Trump, according to an NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released this week, has the approval of only 41 percent of American adults. (That’s about where Bush was in late 2005 when he made his picks.)

“What’s more, that same poll found most Americans didn’t want to see him confirmed. More than half, 52 percent, said the Senate should not advance him to the Supreme Court.

“Bush’s second pick, Samuel A. Alito Jr., had majority support from the public going into his confirmation vote. But Alito does share that third distinction with Kavanaugh: Both relied on votes from senators representing less than half the country to get to the Supreme Court. For Alito, the votes he received came from senators representing 49.8 percent of the country (assigning half of a state’s population to each of its senator).

“Kavanaugh’s confirmation will come with support from senators representing only 44.2 percent of country.

“Kavanaugh will join the Supreme Court despite opposition from senators representing more than half the country, despite more than half the country opposing his nomination, despite being viewed unfavorably by nearly half the country and thanks to a president who is viewed with disapproval by more than half the country and who lost the popular vote.

“He will join three other justices who, like him, were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote.”

The rest of the article, including charts, is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

14 thoughts on “Senators representing less than half the U.S. are about to confirm a nominee opposed by most Americans”

  1. Both Kavanaugh an Gorsuch apparently went to the same good ole rich boys private prep school, Georgetown Prep. The spoiled trust fund children have bought the country’s political system and have now locked down their culture of entitlement and sexcapades for decades. How well does anyone think Roe v. Wade related issues, or attempts to abolish the electoral college, partisan gerrymandering, Citizen’s United, and the other “cheats” far right republicans have used to gain absolute power in Washington will do when legal cases reaches the clown court? Even if Democrats take over the House and Senate it won’t matter. It’s too late, the damage has been done and as this republican appointee dominated court has shown in the past, they will rule against any social progress in favor of the plutocrats who put them in power. The politicizing of justice. Remember when the republicans were screaming about the evils of “legislating from the bench, guess what? We are witnessing, perhaps, the demise of the American experiment in representative democracy and majority rule. And perhaps the demise of life as we know it if the court succeeds in stifling the necessary changes to mitigate the effects of climate change in exchange for short term profits for their benefactors.

  2. President Trump’s presidency can be defined by two words: Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Never mind everything else he has accomplished in 18 months; these two picks for the Supreme Court will be his legacy. And God willing, he will get one or two more picks before the end of 2024, insuring a conservative majority for the next two generations.
    Trump and McConnell have successfully put 26 conservative judges on the federal bench in 18 months, and that total should be over 40 by the end of 2020. Between 2020 and 2024 he will double that amount to insure judges that strictly adhere to the constitution and don’t legislate their liberal view from the bench.
    God bless Donald Trump and God bless the America that I grew up in.

    1. Thanks Keith! I hadn’t heard from you since you said we were supposed to walk on opposite sides of the street because of our political differences. I hope to get you a rhinestone “Make America Great Again” hat for the holidays, so you can celebrate. You are in the sweet spot of our President’s demographics!

    2. God bless the America I grew up in? God has nothing to do with this un Christian bull- God should Damn you and the people who voted for this idiot-

    3. What about legislating conservative views from the bench like Citizens United that has enabled the wealth to purchase our government? I don’t know about the America you grew up in, but the one I grew up in was one of cooperation and compromise doing what was best for all Americans, not just the wealthy ones. It was Richard Nixon who brought us the EPA, The Consumer Protection Agency, Title IX, the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Mammal Marine Protection Act, the National Cancer Center, lowering the voting age, eliminating the draft, and other policies that benefitted all Americans. He was considered very conservative at the time. Many of these accomplishments have either been neutered, eliminated, or are on the chopping block by the current administration. This is how far our country has been pushed to the far right. The minority party in Washington used to be the ‘loyal opposition’ not the enemy. The good ole rich boys have succeeded in dividing the country and instituting minority rule and now thanks to those judicial appointment you praise, progress will be stifled for at least the next two generations as the spoiled entitled trust fund children use their money/power to destroy the America I grew up in and replace democracy with plutocracy. God bless a greedy philandering liar? This is not God’s blessing but a pact with the devil.

      “Fascism: an authoritarian and nationalistic right wing system of government and social organization.”

      Umberto Eco called it “ur-fascism: in which violent fear of intruders, performative machismo, suspicion, and racism” are rampant. This is the America of today.

  3. The Federalist Society can now probably count on its five SCOTUS judges to support its wide-ranging agenda (dump Roe v. Wade, Social Security, Medicare, EPA, child labor laws (?) … grim times ahead.

    I continue to be stunned by the amount of long-term damage that can be done in such a short period of time by one man with an eighth grade vocabulary, unfamiliar with the founding principles of our government and completely ignorant of the effective exercise of power.

    1. I bet the Beaver never said anything like this at the dinner table…

      “Does anyone get what that idiot depelton means by child labor? F&$(# those bitches when we give the wetbacks everything!” –an anonymous Juvenalian poster.

  4. I’m compelled to share an observation I made over on Bob Crabb’s blog and several other places in the last few days. The antidote to a conservative reactionary court is a progressive Congress.

    At least 4 times in American history a conservative court has stood in the way of fully realizing the promise of our founding documents. One was the antebellum period when the Taney court upheld pro-slavery interpretations of the Constitution; the second was during the Gilded Age when the Waite court stood in the way of workers rights, civil rights and checks on corporate power; the third was during the early Progressive era when the White court stood with corporate power and against workers rights; and the fourth was during the New Deal when the Hughes court stood in the way of an expansion of government intervention in the economy to stabilize the nation.

    In every case Congress (or the states) became the vehicles through which progressive change was made, challenging the court and pushing the boundaries of a more liberal interpretation of the constitution.

    The court does not write the laws, Congress does; the court merely interprets whether or not the laws are constitutional. Carefully crafted federal law written to conform to likely constitutional challenges can over ride a reactionary court. State actions can force the court to constrain its decisions based on recognition of state sovereignty over certain issues. If all else fails there is the amendment process, and the first amendment I would support is the equal rights amendment for women, to give them a new tool to clarify their rights and elevate equality issues to the position of national prominence it has deserved.

    If I were Keith (who spoke respectfully) or any of a number of crowing reactionary blowhards we hear from regularly on other forums in Nevada County, I would be very worried. The nature of our system of government is that with 3 co-equal branches every action has a reaction, and the tide of demography and change is decidedly against a conservative interpretation of our constitution. Every reliable national poll of the American people shows they support equal rights, civil rights, voting rights, checks on corporate power, a more progressive tax system, a woman’s right to choose, more control on guns, and universal health care.

    Of course, the reaction requires action–organizing, communicating, inspiring, registering, and voting–and it requires patience; but once anger passes the antidote is get out, organize and Vote, Vote, Vote.

    1. Steven the key to change is found at the ballot box. The Kavanaugh vote and ensuing anger from the women in this country is very strong and organized. Men need to listen to women and understand the need for change. We can do that by supporting the causes that enlighten the nation and supporting strong females that elaborate that message.

  5. The key to the ballot box is getting young people out to vote. They came out for Obama but not for Hillary, bad move. I think the rallying cry should be climate change. That is the single most important issue facing not only the US but the entire world. Monied interests are using their power on a global scale to install right wing governments that will support their continued plundering at the expense of the planet and all living things. I think we are at the crossroad of humanity’s future and the only thing that can defeat big money is big people.

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