"So, all we're doing is following a long-standing tradition of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election year". The two other branches are represented by the presidency and Congress.
The system assigns a score to Supreme Court justices based on their voting patterns; for federal appeals court judges, like Kavanaugh, scores are based on the ideologies of the presidents and senators who nominated them.
That hasn't stopped Trump and others from predicting more openings. "You could have four and you could even have five". Donnelly voted to confirm Gorsuch.
But there is still worry among abortion rights supporters about the future of Roe v. Wade now that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring.
Robert Bork, nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court in 1987, came under intense scrutiny by Democrats who mined his legal writings for evidence of his conservative leanings. But after serving in the administration of President George W. Bush, Kavanaugh's opinion changed.
Serving two terms didn't help his successors get more picks.
Did not Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once question Roe V. Wade? Barack Obama namedSonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Both of the Republicans running for a chance to take on Baldwin in November support Kavanaugh. On top of that, Minnesota is one of the handful of states that pays for abortions for low-income patients who can't afford one.
Hatch, who had conferred with Trump on the nominee, praised the president's choice. He is scheduled to meet with Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah was already talking as though a third Trump nominee is assured.
Remember: This is precisely what McConnell flagged for Trump as a potential problem with Kavanaugh's nomination: Never that he wasn't qualified, but that his extensive time in government service, and the documents that come with it, cannot only lead to possible surprises and also give Democrats grounds - legitimate or not - to delay consideration of the nomination.
Hatch didn't theorize when that might be, but Trump noted on the campaign trail that Scalia's death was "a surprise".
While one national political analyst said McCain, who has been in Arizona since late previous year battling brain cancer, may be willing to give up his seat if it would help Kavanaugh be confirmed, another Arizona lawmaker has different thoughts.
There is a better way to do this, I think. He's well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed, and that's going to basically preempt anything else he does.