Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) broke ranks with Democratic Party leadership's calls to delay the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“We do our job, let’s do our job," Manchin said, the Washington Examiner reported. "We have to have a court, let’s find the right person. You have to go through this process. Delaying’s not going to help anything.”
Manchin is one of five red-state Democrats whose votes Republicans are targeting to help get President Donald Trump's SCOTUS pick confirmed before the midterms.
The senator is up for re-election in a state that Trump won by 42 points in 2016 and where support for the president remains strong.
What's the story?
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged fellow Democrats to push for a pause on Kavanaugh's proceedings. His request came one day after the president's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations.
"A president, identified as an unindicted co-conspirator of a federal crime — an accusation made not by a political enemy but by the closest of his own confidants — is on the verge of making a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court," Schumer said Wednesday on the Senate floor. "A court that may someday soon determine the extent of the president's legal jeopardy.
"It is unseemly for the president of the United States to be picking a Supreme Court justice who could soon be effectively a juror in a case involving the president himself," he continued. "The doubts about Judge Kavanaugh's fitness for the bench was just magnified by Mr. Cohen's plea agreement. The prospect of the President being implicated in some criminal case is no longer a hypothetical that can be dismissed."
But Manchin told the Examiner that Schumer hasn't specifically called on him to delay the vote on Kavanaugh.
“No one’s discussed this with me at all,” Manchin said. “We’ve got a nominee the president has put forward. We have an advise and consent job we have to do. We are going through all of his opinions. It’s time to move on. Let’s find out where we stand. I’m waiting for the judiciary hearing.”
Where does Morrisey stand?
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the Republican nominee challenging Manchin, quickly backed Kavanaugh following his nomination in July and challenged his competitor to do the same.
On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in the state and gave his full endorsement for Morrisey.
“This November, voters in West Virginia will face a very simple choice. A vote for Patrick Morrisey is truly a vote to make America great again," Trump told the crowd in Charleston, according to a news release. "He’s going to vote. And I like Joe but Joe doesn’t vote. He just doesn’t vote for us. It’s a vote for Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, their new leader, Maxine Waters."
When is Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing?
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will begin Sept. 4. It is expected to last three or four days.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month that he hopes to have Kavanaugh confirmed before the new court session begins Oct. 1.