Dems have hard time connecting to voters because they know so much: Hirono

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, on Tuesday told a conference that she heard one of the reasons that her party has a difficult time connecting with voters is because Democrats know so much, and have a tendency of appealing to voters' minds instead of their hearts. Hirono made the comment at a conference in Washington, D.C. She was … Continue reading “Dems have hard time connecting to voters because they know so much: Hirono”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, on Tuesday told a conference that she heard one of the reasons that her party has a difficult time connecting with voters is because Democrats know so much, and have a tendency of appealing to voters' minds instead of their hearts.

Hirono made the comment at a conference in Washington, D.C. She was asked by the moderator about ways Democrats could drive voter turnout.

"I wish I had the answer to that because one of the things that we, Democrats, have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts instead of [their heads]," Hirono said. "We’re really good at shoving out all the information that touch people here [pointing to her head] but not here [pointing to her heart]."

Hirono, 71, said Democrats need to stop speaking in a way that comes off as manipulative or strokes fear and resentment.

“But we have a really hard time doing that and one of the reasons– it was told to me at one of our retreats– was that we Democrats know so much, that is true. And we have kind of have to tell everyone how smart we are and so we have a tendency to be very left brain," she continued.

The left-hand side of the brain is often associated with analytical thought.

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The first-term senator gained widespread notoriety as a leading Democratic voice for the women who accused against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. She urged men to "shut up and step up" when the Senate was confirming Kavanaugh to the court.

Supreme Court to decide whether it was ‘excessive’ to take away $42G Land Rover from drug dealer

An Indiana man has gone all the way to the Supreme Court to recover his expensive Land Rover after he was convicted of selling heroin to undercover police officers, claiming the seizure of his vehicle was “excessive.”

Tyson Timbs, 37, was sentenced to a year of home detention and five years of probation in 2015 after he pleaded guilty to the charges. But his 2012 Land Rover LR2, which he used to transport the heroin, was also seized, prompting a years-long legal battle to recover it.

On Wednesday, the fate of his vehicle will be the subject of the Supreme Court, where his legal team will urge the court to decide that the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibiting “excessive fines” also applies to states. Under Indiana law, the maximum fine for Timbs' crime was $10,000, which is well below the value of the vehicle.

“At first it was about getting my truck back because I was mad, and I wanted my stuff back. Now it’s a lot different,” said Timbs. “I was curious to see how often they did this to people. They do it a lot around here, and apparently it’s done all over the country.”

JOHN PAUL STEVENS REVEALS HE DECIDED TO RETIRE FROM SUPREME COURT AFTER MINI-STROKE WHILE GIVING DISSENT

"At first it was about getting my truck back because I was mad, and I wanted my stuff back. Now it’s a lot different."

— Tyson Timbs

Timbs reportedly bought the vehicle for $42,000 after receiving more than $70,000 from a life insurance pay-out after his father’s death in 2012. But the money soon dried up and Timbs turned to both using and selling heroin.

“A drug addict shouldn’t have a whole lot of money. That’s not a good idea,” he said.

On his third attempt to sell the drugs, he was pulled over by authorities and arrested. As part of the arrest, the state of Indiana used civil forfeiture laws to take away his expensive car.

Since the legal troubles, Timbs entered rehab and has not used drugs for three years, he told the Washington Examiner.

“I've started to live like a regular human being should for the most part,” he said. “I’m finally able to start looking forward to planning the rest of my life, hopefully get married in the next year or two. Things have been really good.”

President Trump and Melania Trump pose with members of the Supreme Court, from left to right, retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, his wife Ashley Kavanaugh, Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Elena Kagan.

His case has been backed by liberal and conservative groups alike, including the Americans for Prosperity and the Southern Poverty Law Center, who long warned that states often impose extreme fines for relatively small crimes.

CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY DEAN RESIGNS AFTER QUESTIONING KAVANAUGH ACCUSER'S ALLEGATIONS THAT LED TO HIS SUSPENSION

As the evidence of a broken system, the groups cite examples including a Georgia man who was sentenced to pay $360 a month while on probation, despite his crime being a theft of a $2 can of beer, or the case of a Michigan man, who owed less than $9 in property taxes to the state government, yet his property was auctioned off for $24,500, according to the USA Today.

Wesley Hottot, Timbs’ lawyer at the libertarian public interest law firm Institute for Justice, said prosecutors and police have an incentive to use civil forfeiture to take property from people who have been arrested, even if they haven’t yet been convicted.

“Civil forfeiture is one of the greatest threats to property rights today,” Hottot said.

Timbs’ case will be presented on Wednesday, but the actual ruling is expected sometime next summer. He told the newspaper that he never expected to “get this far” with the legal action.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

DOJ asks Supreme Court to take up case of military transgender ban

The Supreme Court on Friday got a request from the Department of Justice, asking that it quickly hear cases regarding President Trump’s ban on certain transgender individuals joining the military.

The DOJ asked the nation’s highest court to take up three cases on the matter, The Associated Press reported – an unusual mov,e as the Supreme Court doesn’t normally hear cases ahead of federal appeals courts’ decisions on them.

Lower courts have stood in the way of Trump officials' ability to carry out the policy.

“Absent an immediate grant of certiorari, there is thus little chance of a prompt resolution of the validity of [Defense] Secretary Mattis’ proposed policy. And so long as this or any other injunction remains in place, the military will be forced nationwide to maintain the [former Defense Secretary Ash] Carter policy — a policy that the military has concluded poses a threat to ‘readiness, good order and discipline, sound leadership and unit cohesion,’ which ‘are essential to military effectiveness and lethality.’”

PRESIDENT TRUMP ISSUES ORDER TO BAN TRANSGENDER TROOPS FROM SERVICE EXCEPT IN ‘LIMITED CIRCUMSTANCES’

Trump moves to ban most transgender troops from serving

The White House issues new policies banning most transgender Americans from servicing in the U.S. military; Leland Vittert reports.

In March, the president officially authorized the Pentagon to ban transgender individuals from enlisting in the military, with limited exceptions.

"Among other things, the policies set forth by the Secretary of Defense state that transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances," a memo released by the White House earlier this year said.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., had been scheduled to hear the issue next month.

COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS IN TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE BAN

And arguments for one of the cases were presented in October to a panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, although no ruling has been made yet.

That court, as of late, has drawn ire from Trump after Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order late Monday against the president’s plan to refuse asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally if they do not arrive at a port of entry.

The DOJ previously said that if that court does not issue a ruling by Friday, it would make its “cert before judgment” request with the Supreme Court.

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eager to slam Trump, Schumer contradicts himself in support of Chief Justice Roberts, critics say

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was quickly mocked Friday after praising Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court for rebuking President Trump’s recent “Obama judges” comment — while at the same time slamming Roberts’ “partisan decisions.”

“I don’t agree very often with Chief Justice Roberts, especially his partisan decisions which seem highly political on Citizens United, Janus, and Shelby,” the Democrat wrote in a Twitter message. “But I am thankful today that he — almost alone among Republicans — stood up to President Trump and for an independent judiciary.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., drew swift criticism for seeming to praise and criticize Chief Justice John Roberts. (Reuters)

Critics on social media and elsewhere pointed out that in issuing a two-sided response to the Trump-Roberts exchange, Schumer was effectively agreeing with the president, who had criticized the courts for partisanship.

Some wondered whether Schumer had even recognized the mistake.

“I wonder if Chuck realizes how he's contradicting himself and proving Trump's point in this statement? I doubt it,” Twitter user Derek Hunter. wrote.

TRUMP SLAMS CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS, INSISTS THERE ARE ‘OBAMA JUDGES’

“So Schumer rips the Judiciary as being partisan in the same tweet that he praises Roberts for responding to Trump for criticizing the judiciary as being partisan… Stunning!” another user on social media commented.

Ross Douthat of the New York Times went on to lampoon the Democrat.

“Shorter Chuck Schumer: Trump is totally right about the courts, except when Republican appointees criticize him; then the judiciary is Independent and Good,” the conservative columnist wrote.

Schumer’s backhanded compliment came amid a war of words between Trump and Roberts, with the president criticizing the so-called “judicial activism” of federal judges who halt decisions made by the executive branch, a common occurrence under the Trump administration.

The criticism was prompted after U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar, who was nominated by President Obama in 2012 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a temporary restraining order late Monday against Trump's plan to refuse asylum to immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally if they do not arrive at a port of entry.

“You go to Ninth Circuit and it's a disgrace, and I'm going to put in a major complaint. Because you cannot win, if you're us, a case in the Ninth Circuit,” Trump said. “Every case gets filed in the Ninth Circuit. … We get beaten, and then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court — like the travel ban and we won. We're gonna have to look at that.”

"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

— Chief Justice Roberts

In response, Roberts issued a rare criticism of the president.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” he said in a Wednesday statement provided to Fox News. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

Roberts added: “That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

But the statement from the chief justice only prompted Trump to double-down on his criticism of the judiciary, saying the courts aren’t as independent as Roberts makes them out to be.

“Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country,” Trump tweeted.

“It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an ‘independent judiciary,’ but if it is why are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned,” Trump continued. “Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security – these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Trump is right about biased judges; Schumer acknowledges ‘highly political’ rulings

Like a basketball player who mistakenly shoots into his own basket and scores points for the opposing team, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has inadvertently backed President Trump’s accurate contention that there are liberal judges appointed by Democrats and conservative judges appointed by Republicans who rule differently on cases.

After President Trump criticized U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar of San Francisco on Tuesday for issuing an order to stop Trump’s new emergency restrictions on asylum claims by immigrants from taking effect – calling Tigar “an Obama judge” – Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts issued a rare public statement rebuking the president.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said Wednesday. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

Schumer piled on, criticizing President Trump in a Friday tweet: “I don’t agree very often with Chief Justice Roberts, especially his partisan decisions which seem highly political …. But I am thankful today that he – almost alone among Republicans – stood up to President Trump and for an independent judiciary.”

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OK, stop and think about that tweet. If Schumer calls Roberts a Republican and believes the chief justice issues “partisan decisions which seem highly political” he is corroborating President Trump. The New York Democratic senator sank one for the president.

President Trump was stating a fact when he noted that district and appellate court judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit – which exercises jurisdiction over nine Western states and two U.S. island territories – tend to support liberal and Democratic positons in their rulings.

Roberts was right to say an independent judiciary is essential and an ideal that judges should strive for. But we live in the real world, not an ideal world.

In the real world, judges are not computers, all coming to identical conclusions on cases. Judges are individuals who come to the bench with different life experiences, different judicial philosophies, and – yes – different political views. That’s why they don’t always reach the same conclusions on the same cases.

President Trump’s observation about the 9th Circuit undercuts respect for rulings from that circuit, but the truth hurts. As the old saying goes, “facts are stubborn things.”

Here, the facts are with President Trump, if you look at the numbers. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – where I served as a law clerk many years ago – has swung incontrovertibly to the left over the past 30 years.

The president correctly stated that lawyers opposing his policies forum shop to bring their cases before federal judges appointed by Democrats, because they know such judges are more likely to rule in their favor. An increasing number of these judges seem enamored of the media attention their anti-Trump rulings garner.

Media adulation encourages “judicial dicta” – court rulings that go beyond facts presented in a case and the application of law to those facts. District judges in the 9th Circuit are issuing imperious rulings, particularly on immigration cases. In some cases, they have claimed their rulings apply to every federal court in the nation. But that is not how the law works.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently overturned hard-left decisions coming out of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The nation’s highest court accepts cases for review when four members believe circumstances warrant. Typically, a case must be of significance, involve conflicting rulings by appellate courts, or deal with a major contested question. While only a fraction of appeals to the Supreme Court receive review, the American Bar Association reports that 80 percent of the 9th Circuit rulings reviewed by the Supreme Court are overturned.

Only one circuit has a higher percentage of overturned cases – the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. They are overruled 83 percent of the time. Notably, that court has 17 Democratic appointees and nine Republican appointees at the district level, and seven Democratic appointees and three Republican appointees active at the appellate level. Altogether, there are 24 Democratic appointees and only 12 Republican appointees.

Similarly, in the 9th U.S. Circuit, Democratic appointees outnumber Republican appointees 116 to 33 at the district court level. At the appellate level, Democratic appointees number 16, Republicans just seven.

Moreover, of the 132 active Democratic-appointed federal judges within the 9th Circuit, 66 – including Judge Tigar, who was criticized by President Trump – were appointed by President Obama.  In other words, 57 percent of Democratic appointees to the 9th Circuit are “Obama judges.” And yes, these are the ones who have made headlines ruling against this President Trump.

In effect, what these numbers suggest is exactly what President Trump asserts – that Democratic-appointed judges in the 9th Circuit are out of sync with U.S. Supreme Court precedent, consistently leaning too far left, and with a majority Democrat appointees, most of whom are Obama appointees.

Run a counterproof. What is the least-reversed circuit – the one most in sync with the Supreme Court? The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was reversed only 55 percent of the time. What is that circuit’s composition? Republican appointees outnumber Democrats nine to two.

Bottom line: An independent judiciary, in the best tradition of Chief Justice John Marshall, is vitally important. Judges should decide cases in a nonpartisan way. They should review facts impartially, then apply law without personal prejudice or political preference, resolve disputes on narrow legal grounds, construe the Constitution strictly, defer to other branches as constitutionally appropriate, and avoid legislating from the bench.

To this extent, Justice Roberts is correct – and in sync with what President Trump and traditional constitutionalists say: America needs a credible, nonpolitical, and independent judiciary. That is and should be a shared goal.

However, absent a conscious effort to avoid politics – and in the case of Democratic-appointees, to avoid legislating from the bench – judges who first rose from politics to their judicial appointments seem to drift backward toward their political leanings.

President Thomas Jefferson worried about this exact problem. In 1801, he foresaw judicial overreach and warned – even then – that leaders of the political opposition “have retreated into the judiciary as a stronghold, the tenure of which renders it difficult to dislodge them.”

In 1807 Jefferson wrote to a friend: “The original error … (was) establishing a judiciary independent of the nation and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will."

So while we all wish for an independent judiciary – judges who apply the law strictly and on a nonpartisan basis – the 9th U.S. Circuit stands out like a sore thumb. The judges have progressively drifted from the ideal. Accordingly, the facts are with President Trump on this one.

Robert Charles is a former assistant secretary of state for President George W. Bush, former naval intelligence officer and litigator. He served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses.

John Paul Stevens reveals he decided to retire from Supreme Court after mini-stroke while giving dissent

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens revealed he stepped down from the high court because he suffered a mini-stroke the day he delivered his dissent in the Citizens United case.

The 98-year-old writes in his forthcoming memoir, “The Making of a Justice: My First 94 Years,” that the incident caused him to stumble over and mispronounce several words during the dissent, according to the New York Times.

“Unbeknownst to me, I apparently had suffered a mini-stroke,” he writes.

"That was it," he told the Times. "I made the decision that day. After I went to see the doctor, I sent a letter to the president right away."

GUTFELD: SCHUMER RIPS TRUMP ON JUDGES, MAKES TRUMP'S POINT

Stevens dissented from the landmark campaign finance case in 2010, which eased restrictions on election spending. Months after Stevens broke with the majority’s ruling, he announced he’d be retiring, giving then-President Barack Obama his second Supreme Court vacancy.

Click for more from the Washington Examiner.

Christine Blasey Ford explains use of GoFundMe money in rare public statement

Christine Blasey Ford used some of the more than $600,000 donated to her after she accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault to pay for security and housing, she said in a rare public statement.

Just days before the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, Ford publicly came forward to accuse the judge of sexual misconduct decades ago.

She accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed during a house party in Maryland in the early 1980s, attempting to remove her clothes and putting his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. At the time of the alleged incident, Ford was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17, she said, adding that Kavanaugh was drunk.

Kavanaugh repeatedly denied the allegations, and after a highly publicized and emotional hearing regarding the accusations, he was confirmed to the bench on Oct. 6.

After the allegations, a GoFundMe account set up on Ford’s behalf raised $647,610 before it was closed to further donations. In a Nov. 21 statement posted to the fundraising page, Ford said she used the money “to protect ourselves against frightening threats, including physical protection and security for me and my family, and to enhance the security for our home.”

KAVANAUGH CONFIRMATION DERAILED BY SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS: A LIST OF HIS ACCUSERS

Ford said the money went for a home security system, a security service and housing while her family was “displaced.” She said at one point her family was able to stay “in a residence generously loaned to us.”

The leftover money will be donated to “organizations that support trauma survivors” – which are yet to be determined, Ford said.

“Although coming forward was terrifying, and caused disruption to our lives, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty,” Ford said. “Having done so, I am in awe of the many women and men who have written me to share similar life experiences, and now have bravely shared their experience with friends and family, many for the first time.”

KAVANAUGH'S FIRST SUPREME COURT CASES DEAL WITH IMMIGRATION, SENTENCING GUIDELINES: A LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE

Similarly, a GoFundMe account was set up in support of Kavanaugh by his supporters. It raised $488,895 before it stopped accepting donations.

Neither Kavanaugh nor his family was able to accept any of the money raised on the site, however, due to “judicial ethics reasons,” according to a statement posted to the fundraising page. The money was instead donated to the Archdiocese of Washington, according to the statement.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

Dark money poured in over Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but will it matter in the midterms?

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been weaponized, just in time for the midterm elections.

Up until his confirmation vote, an influx of political ads targeting vulnerable senators took voters’ screens by storm. From Facebook to traditional TV ads, dark-money groups ramped up the rhetoric around Justice Kavanaugh in an attempt to shame lawmakers and influence their votes one way or the other.

Now, with less than a month before most states’ midterm elections, some of the same groups are trying to use Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment as a wedge issue to divide voters. Like any October surprise, the question is whether the controversy surrounding Kavanaugh will carry through the midterm election and upend any expected results.

“An issue or controversy piques the interests of voters, and then often fades before election day,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said. “So much happens every day. Partly it depends on what the candidates stress, and the party leaders and elected officials choose to emphasize in TV ads and at rallies.”

Kavanaugh served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for 12 years and has been criticized as being overly partisan during past confirmations. Over his career, Kavanaugh built a solidly conservative judicial philosophy that echoed the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

His confirmation process turned contentious when allegations of a drunken teenaged sexual assault came to light. The investigation into his past dredged up questions about his drinking habits. Ultimately, the Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, abstained from voting, and was heavily targeted by pre-vote ads in her state. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, was the lone Democrat to confirm Kavanaugh, and similarly drew the focus of deep-pocketed ad campaigns.

“If there has been a partisan political fight that needed a very bright legal foot soldier in the past decade, Brett Kavanaugh was probably there,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said in 2006.

In the weeks before the Senate voted to confirm the embattled judge, partisan advocacy groups dumped money into advertising campaigns meant to sway legislators.

If more Republicans are coming into the election conversation, then they will vote, and that can’t be good news for the Democrats – even the incumbents.

— Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Among those in opposition were the American Civil Liberties Union, which invested in a “seven-figure, multi-state TV ad buy” to oppose the nomination in early October. Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group, spent $700,000, according to the Washington Post.

NARAL Pro-Choice also pitched in $1 million in direct opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination, and has plans for a $750,000 voter education campaign in the final days before the midterms.

Progressive organizations certainly dipped into their pockets to fight President Donald Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court, but their effort were far overshadowed by their conservative counterparts.

The National Rifle Association ponied up $1.2 million to launch ads supporting the judge in West Virginia, Indiana, North Dakota, Alaska and Montana, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

The Judicial Crisis Network, a right-wing nonprofit advocacy group, spent $12 million on ads supporting the controversial justice’s confirmation. They specifically targeted senators in West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama and Indiana – all of whom are up for re-election.

To put this in context, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that a winning Senate campaign cost $12.2 million dollars on average.

JCN, like all the groups listed above, is a 501(c)(4) organization, which means they have no obligation to disclose their donors. However, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that tax returns show the JCN is largely supported by the Wellspring Committee, another nonprofit conservative advocacy group.

From 2011 to 2015, the Center for Responsive Politics reported the Judicial Crisis Network received about $17.3 million in revenue, about $15 million of which came from the Wellspring Committee.

This isn’t the first time JCN has acted aggressively to sway voting on a nominee to the Supreme Court. They reportedly spent $7 million in opposition to former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, and another $10 million in support of Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Carry Severino, policy director for JCN, said the organization opposed Garland because his nomination came during an election cycle when America was deeply divided. The organization jumped headlong into Kavanaugh's nomination to defend a man she saw as unfairly attacked.

"We have a policy of always being ready," Severino said. "… I couldn't have a nominee I'm more proud of supporting than Brett Kavanaugh."

Partisan groups, like Demand Justice and JCN, mostly targeted vulnerable senators facing upstart challenges in their races for reelection.

“The Senate matters enormously, and as it happens, most of the key race are in deeply red states,” Sabato said. “If more Republicans are coming into the election conversation, then they will vote, and that can’t be good news for the Democrats – even the incumbents.”

The reelection rate for incumbent senators is about 93 percent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

There wasn’t an issue in 2012 that energized Republicans like this. Voters overwhelmingly supported Justice Kavanaugh throughout this entire confirmation process.

— Jake Wilkins, spokesman for the North Dakota Republican Party

Among those hit hardest for their vote against Kavanaugh is Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, who is facing an uphill battle for reelection against Kevin Cramer. A recent Fox News poll has Cramer leading the incumbent by 12 points.

A spokesman for the North Dakota Republican Party said Republican voters are “fired up” over her opposition to Kavanaugh.

“She’s never faced a deficit like this,” Jake Wilkins, communications director for the North Dakota Republican Party, said. “There wasn’t an issue in 2012 that energized Republicans like this. Voters overwhelmingly supported Justice Kavanaugh throughout this entire confirmation process.”

Heitkamp broke with the majority of Democrats and voted to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, a move that drew criticism from some who wanted her to vote along party lines.

“I voted for Justice Gorsuch because I felt his legal ability and temperament qualified him to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is different,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “… In addition to the concerns about his past conduct, last Thursday’s hearing called into question Judge Kavanaugh’s current temperament, honesty, and impartiality.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME,  has been both criticized and lauded for her vote of approval. The Judicial Crisis Network focused intently on influencing the senator with ads in Maine, and spent six figures thanking the Republican Collins for her vote.

Voters in Maine will also see an ad paid for by Protect Our Care, a group supportive of the Affordable Care Act, that hits Sen. Collins for her decision to support the controversial nominee. The group argues that Kavanaugh will be the deciding vote against the healthcare law if the Supreme Court hears a case challenging it.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the State Government Leadership Fund spent over $500,000 to push Collins to approve Kavanaugh. The Vote Vets Action Fund and the Planned Parent Action Fund poured $160,00 and $250,000 into ads pushing for her disapproval, respectively.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks with Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at her office, before a private meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 21, 2018. (Associated Press)

Another senator targeted heavily before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was Joe Donnelly,D-IN, who is facing a surging Republican challenger in his reelection race. The most recent Fox News poll had Donnelly leading Mike Braun by two percentage points.

Donnelly voted to confirm Gorsuch and against Kavanaugh, decisions that Democratic party officials in Indiana don’t think will come back to haunt him.

“[Voters] are fired up to re-elect Joe Donnelly because they know he’s the only candidate working to protect access to affordable healthcare and defend coverage for Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions,” Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic party, said.

Indeed, if campaign contributions spell voter enthusiasm, then Donnelly is in good shape. His campaign reported 30,000 individual donations during the third quarter alone, netting the incumbent more than $3 million. That’s a high-water mark for his campaign.

Only time will tell if Kavanaugh’s confirmation will bleed into the midterm elections.

“It may have already had its major effect – energizing potential voters,” Sabato said. “Republicans talk about a ‘Kavanaugh bump’ that has energized some of their base that wasn’t planning to vote. That could well be true. Of course, Democrats say the same thing, except the enthusiasm gap favored Democrats and now Republicans have caught up.”

DOJ asks Supreme Court to take up case of military transgender ban

The Supreme Court on Friday got a request from the Department of Justice, asking that it quickly hear cases regarding President Trump’s ban on certain transgender individuals joining the military.

The DOJ asked the nation’s highest court to take up three cases on the matter, The Associated Press reported – an unusual mov,e as the Supreme Court doesn’t normally hear cases ahead of federal appeals courts’ decisions on them.

Lower courts have stood in the way of Trump officials' ability to carry out the policy.

“Absent an immediate grant of certiorari, there is thus little chance of a prompt resolution of the validity of [Defense] Secretary Mattis’ proposed policy. And so long as this or any other injunction remains in place, the military will be forced nationwide to maintain the [former Defense Secretary Ash] Carter policy — a policy that the military has concluded poses a threat to ‘readiness, good order and discipline, sound leadership and unit cohesion,’ which ‘are essential to military effectiveness and lethality.’”

PRESIDENT TRUMP ISSUES ORDER TO BAN TRANSGENDER TROOPS FROM SERVICE EXCEPT IN ‘LIMITED CIRCUMSTANCES’

Trump moves to ban most transgender troops from serving

The White House issues new policies banning most transgender Americans from servicing in the U.S. military; Leland Vittert reports.

In March, the president officially authorized the Pentagon to ban transgender individuals from enlisting in the military, with limited exceptions.

"Among other things, the policies set forth by the Secretary of Defense state that transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances," a memo released by the White House earlier this year said.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., had been scheduled to hear the issue next month.

COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS IN TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE BAN

And arguments for one of the cases were presented in October to a panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, although no ruling has been made yet.

That court, as of late, has drawn ire from Trump after Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order late Monday against the president’s plan to refuse asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally if they do not arrive at a port of entry.

The DOJ previously said that if that court does not issue a ruling by Friday, it would make its “cert before judgment” request with the Supreme Court.

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eager to slam Trump, Schumer contradicts himself in support of Chief Justice Roberts, critics say

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was quickly mocked Friday after praising Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court for rebuking President Trump’s recent “Obama judges” comment — while at the same time slamming Roberts’ “partisan decisions.”

“I don’t agree very often with Chief Justice Roberts, especially his partisan decisions which seem highly political on Citizens United, Janus, and Shelby,” the Democrat wrote in a Twitter message. “But I am thankful today that he — almost alone among Republicans — stood up to President Trump and for an independent judiciary.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., drew swift criticism for seeming to praise and criticize Chief Justice John Roberts. (Reuters)

Critics on social media and elsewhere pointed out that in issuing a two-sided response to the Trump-Roberts exchange, Schumer was effectively agreeing with the president, who had criticized the courts for partisanship.

Some wondered whether Schumer had even recognized the mistake.

“I wonder if Chuck realizes how he's contradicting himself and proving Trump's point in this statement? I doubt it,” Twitter user Derek Hunter. wrote.

TRUMP SLAMS CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS, INSISTS THERE ARE ‘OBAMA JUDGES’

“So Schumer rips the Judiciary as being partisan in the same tweet that he praises Roberts for responding to Trump for criticizing the judiciary as being partisan… Stunning!” another user on social media commented.

Ross Douthat of the New York Times went on to lampoon the Democrat.

“Shorter Chuck Schumer: Trump is totally right about the courts, except when Republican appointees criticize him; then the judiciary is Independent and Good,” the conservative columnist wrote.

Schumer’s backhanded compliment came amid a war of words between Trump and Roberts, with the president criticizing the so-called “judicial activism” of federal judges who halt decisions made by the executive branch, a common occurrence under the Trump administration.

The criticism was prompted after U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar, who was nominated by President Obama in 2012 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a temporary restraining order late Monday against Trump's plan to refuse asylum to immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally if they do not arrive at a port of entry.

“You go to Ninth Circuit and it's a disgrace, and I'm going to put in a major complaint. Because you cannot win, if you're us, a case in the Ninth Circuit,” Trump said. “Every case gets filed in the Ninth Circuit. … We get beaten, and then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court — like the travel ban and we won. We're gonna have to look at that.”

"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

— Chief Justice Roberts

In response, Roberts issued a rare criticism of the president.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” he said in a Wednesday statement provided to Fox News. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

Roberts added: “That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

But the statement from the chief justice only prompted Trump to double-down on his criticism of the judiciary, saying the courts aren’t as independent as Roberts makes them out to be.

“Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country,” Trump tweeted.

“It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an ‘independent judiciary,’ but if it is why are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned,” Trump continued. “Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security – these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.