MEMO: What Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Means For West Virginia Senate Race

President Donald Trump’s pick to the fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Kennedy poses a lose-lose-lose situation for Sen. Joe Manchin.

Over the coming weeks, Joe Manchin will dodge and weave in an impossible attempt to appease his liberal national donors, President Trump, and West Virginia voters. Regardless of how Manchin votes, the Supreme Court confirmation battle will remind West Virginians about Joe Manchin’s record as a craven, flip-flopping career politician.

At the end of the process, Sen. Manchin will undoubtedly support President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court — he has no choice. This decision will not be motivated by principle (after all Sen. Manchin supported 95% of President Obama’s judicial nominees) but sheer political survival. But in the meantime, West Virginia voters will be watching closely as Sen. Manchin calculates how to handle the following dilemmas:

  • How far left will Sen. Manchin go on abortion, Obamacare, and Second Amendment issues to maintain support from national donors funding his campaign?
  • How long will voters have to wait for Sen. Manchin to calculate his political decision to support the Supreme Court pick? It is very unlikely Manchin will make a decision anytime soon.
  • What empty rhetoric will Sen. Manchin offer voters about his deliberation process?

Ahead of Monday’s announcement, The New York Times reported on the internal thought process of red-state Democrats, like Sen. Manchin. In “‘It’s a Terrible Vote’: Red-State Democrats Face an Agonizing Supreme Court Choice,” The Times summarizes Joe Manchin’s political calculation:

“For Democrats, the test will be whether they can mount a strong challenge to the nominee that satisfies their voters without exacting too high a cost from their most endangered lawmakers.”

The number two ranking Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin, told NBC News on Sunday that red-state Democrats will put the interest of the Democratic party ahead of voters:

“The men and women that I work with on the Democratic side really take this seriously. They understand it’s a historic decision. It’s about more than the next election.”

Abortion and Obamacare
As Washington Democrats begin their hopeless Supreme Court blockade, they have zeroed in on two issues: The preservation of Obamacare and the future of Roe v. Wade.

Sen. Manchin moved quickly following the retirement of Justice Kennedy to parrot the national Democrat talking points on Obamacare and Roe v. Wade, driving him further into the hands of liberals and even further away from mainstream West Virginia values.

In a radio interview with WV MetroNews, Sen. Manchin was clear about his personal litmus test ahead of the confirmation process:

“If he’s going Roe v. Wade or if he’s going health care, someone who says “I’m totally supportive of repealing affordable health care,” all of that stuff is red flags for all Americans… If he picks somebody that is hardcore on Roe v. Wade or that is hardcore on repealing health care, that is a bigger lift…”

So far, Sen. Manchin is playing to the radical views of Washington Democrats led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and pro-abortion groups. Manchin’s suggestion that he won’t support a pro-life nominee earned him high praise from radical pro-abortion groups and betrayed his commitment to West Virginia voters and values.

Manchin Support For Obama Judges, And Hillary Clinton For President 

Sen. Manchin voted for 95 percent of President Obama’s judicial nominees, many of whom have ruled against the Second Amendment, religious liberty, and freedom of speech.

West Virginia voters have not forgotten that if Sen. Manchin had his way, Hillary Clinton would be nominating her second radical Supreme Court Justice by now. Hillary Clinton clearly does not share West Virginia values, and even said nominating Barack Obama to the Supreme Court was “a great idea.”

Selecting A Jurist in the Model of Justices Gorsuch and Scalia

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has been a staunch supporter of President Trump’s work to appoint strong constitutionalist judges to the federal bench and nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Thanks to President Trump’s leadership and a Republican Senate, the judiciary is being filled with judges who are following the plain meaning of the Constitution.

As Attorney General, Morrisey has a strong record of defending the Constitution. He has worked tirelessly to protect religious liberty, the sanctity of life, West Virginia jobs, and Second Amendment rights. Morrisey will be an ally for President Trump and his highly-qualified constitutional conservative judicial nominees in the U.S. Senate.

The Bottom Line

Sen. Manchin will ultimately cave and vote for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, but West Virginia voters will see first-hand how Manchin performs his disingenuous fence-riding act under the national microscope. Indeed, Sen. Manchin has already begun the process of scoring points with his liberal donor base, echoing their hyperbolic attacks on President Trump’s potential nominees – particularly on Obamacare and abortion. West Virginia voters are wise to Sen. Manchin’s political maneuvering, and they will not be fooled by his coming political tapdance.

As a leading Attorney General and a forceful advocate for the rule of law, Patrick Morrisey will use this opportunity to remind voters about his West Virginia conservative values, strong record defending the Constitution, and his staunch support for President Trump’s conservative judicial picks. The contrast between Senator Manchin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will be very clear during this nomination process.