The Legal Race Around Abortion Rights In America (HBO)

It’s the first opportunity for the two newest justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, to participate in a decision that would send a powerful message to state lawmakers – about whether or not this more conservative Supreme Court will uphold abortion rights precedent going forward. VICE News looks at the shifting strategies at the state and federal level as legislators and litigators prepare for the possibility that Roe v. Wade could actually be overturned.

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Supreme Court justices pose for class photo

(30 Nov 2018) The nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, including the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, gathered for their official group photo at the Supreme Court. (Nov. 30)

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AP VoteCast: Kavanaugh weighs on voters minds

(6 Nov 2018) According to AP VoteCast, nearly half of voters said the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle was very important to their vote and they broke for the Democratic candidates. But the individual state results didn’t always reflect the national trend. (Nov. 6)

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Avenatti ‘welcomes’ Kavanaugh-linked probe

(26 Oct 2018) Attorney Michael Avenatti says he would welcome a Justice Department investigation into whether he and his client Julie Swetnick provided false statements about Brett Kavanaugh. Avenatti claims Kavanaugh lied to the committee. (Oct. 26)

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Joe Manchin, a democratic senator in Trump’s America

“I feel comfortable about winning. I feel confident that people are supporting me, but let’s say the worst case scenario, that doesn’t happen: I get to come home. By God, that’s a win-win situation” says West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who is fighting to keep his seat in Washington. Often considered the most conservative federal senator in his party, he supported Brett Kavanaugh’s candidacy for the United States’ Supreme Court.

McConnell: Gender gap ‘wider than it used to be’

(10 Oct 2018) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged that Republicans have a longstanding gender gap when it comes to women voters, but he told the AP “nobody’s going to beat” Sen. Lisa Murkowski despite her opposition to Brett Kavanaugh. (Oct. 10)

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McConnell: Senate ‘not broken’ in Kavanaugh wake

(10 Oct 2018) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation on the US Supreme Court is a major accomplishment. In an AP newsmaker interview, McConnell said filling court vacancies “is the most important thing we’re doing.” (Oct. 10)

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What West Virginia Swing Voters Think About Manchin’s Kavanaugh Vote (HBO)

West Virginians had been led by Democrats for decades, but they overwhelmingly backed President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. It’s that political reality that democratic Senator Joe Manchin lives in as he faces a re-election fight against West Virginia State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

In most states, Trump’s overwhelming popularity would mean a democratic senator wouldn’t have a chance, but Manchin has more than a chance. According to one of the latest polls out of the state, which was conducted before Manchin voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the senator was beating his opponent by eight points.

So what is it about West Virginian voters that allows them to walk a line between support for Trump and support for Manchin and how did Manchin’s vote for Kavanaugh affect their view of the Senator?

Frank Luntz, a veteran Republican pollster, convened a group of 12 swing voters in West Virginia to try to answer that question. People who were chosen to participate either had to have voted for both republican and democratic presidential candidates in the last three elections or if they’ve only voted Republican in presidential elections, needed to have expressed support for Manchin himself. The focus group was conducted on the evening of October 5th, after Manchin had announced he would be supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Some saw his vote for Kavanaugh as a nakedly political move, while others said it means he’s listening to his constituents. But no one seemed particularly happy about the state of politics right now or their choices for Senator.

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