McCaskill holds off taking stance on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, Hawley pushes for confirmation


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In a year where U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is facing a tough re-election bid, Missouri’s Democratic Senator is holding off on taking a public stance on President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

In a statement Monday night, McCaskill said she looks forward to “thoroughly examining Judge [Brett] Kavanaugh’s record in the coming weeks as the Senate considers his nomination to replace Justice [Anthony] Kennedy.” She is asking constituents to fill out a survey on their thoughts on the nominee.

The questionnaire asks participants what issues the U.S. Supreme Court could consider are most important to them: The Affordable Care Act, the Roe v. Wade, voting rights, net neutrality, immigration or something else. It does not ask how McCaskill should vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Kennedy announced his retirement less than three weeks prior, giving Trump his second nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nomination has turned into a make or break issue in the bid to represent the Show-Me State in the Senate.

More than 20 candidates have thrown their hats in the race. McCaskill is expected to win the Democratic primary and Attorney General Josh Hawley is projected to gain the Republican nomination.

Hawley threw his support behind Kavanaugh, calling him “remarkably qualified.”

“The balance of the court turns on this nomination and I applaud the President for his thoughtfulness on this decision,” stated Hawley.

“Missourians deserve a Senator who will fight for our way of life and support a constitutional conservative like Judge Kavanaugh.”

Kavanaugh, a graduate of Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Kennedy in 1993, was elevated in 2006 to the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia by former-President George W. Bush, under whom he had served as a White House lawyer and staff secretary.

Kavanaugh was born in Washington, grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and has spent the majority of his career in the nation’s capital.

In a recent ruling, he sided with the Trump administration and dissented from the majority in an opinion that allowed an undocumented minor to undergo an abortion. He also opposed moves made by the Environmental Protection Agency under Barack Obama’s presidency. 

Kavanaugh worked under Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, who led the investigation that ultimately resulted in Clinton’s impeachment. Kavanaugh himself was a lead author of the controversial Starr Report.

McCaskill is faced with a tough decision with her vote on Kavanaugh. If she supports Kavanaugh, she risks upsetting her Democratic base. If she opposes him, she risks alienating Trump supporters — the Republican president won Missouri by nearly 20 points.

Gov. Mike Parson has called on the U.S. Senate to “move swiftly to confirm Judge Kavanaugh who is eminently qualified and a proven conservative.”

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at