Who are the Senators?
Schumer has promised to fight Kavanaugh's nomination with “everything I've got,” but some members of his own party apparently don't like that idea.
While Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) have not promised their support for Kavanaugh, they did say openly that Schumer would not be able to influence their votes. All three of these senators voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's first nominee to the high court.
“I’ll be 71 years old in August, you’re going to whip me? Kiss my you-know-what,” Manchin declared, referring to the idea that Schumer could pressure him to oppose the nominee, according to Politico.
Donnelly and Heitkamp made similar statements, albeit less forcefully.
“I’m going to vote the way I’m going to vote regardless of what the leader says,’ Heitkamp insisted.
“My decision won’t have anything to do with Chuck Schumer,” Donnelly stated simply.
Even more liberal senators like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) seemed to resent Schumer's demands.
“He doesn’t come to me and say: ‘You’ve got to vote with us on this.’ He knows I’ll tell him to take a flyin’ leap,” McCaskill said. Adding that she would vote how she thought was right and that “it has nothing to do with the party.”
McCaskill also said that Schumer “knows better” than to ask her to vote with the rest of the party.
How important are these votes?
In 2017, Republicans did away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.
Currently, the GOP controls 51 seats in the Senate, but Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain is at home fighting cancer and will likely not be able to vote on the nomination. In order to prevent Kavanaugh from being confirmed, Schumer must convince one GOP senator to join him and keep everyone in his caucus on board.
How often are justices blocked?
It's not unheard of. Since 1789, there have been 163 presidential nominations for the Supreme Court. Of those, 12 were rejected by the U.S. Senate. The first Supreme Court nominee to be rejected was John Rutledge, who was nominated by President George Washington.
Every president except for William Henry Harrison (who died after just 31 days in office), Zachary Taylor, and Jimmy Carter has nominated at least one justice to the Supreme Court.