Following Anthony Kennedy's astounding Supreme Court retirement announcement and Trump's dramatic revelation by conservative federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace him, the first week of the nominee was perhaps notable for its restrained, dilapidated, buttoned-up order.
Even staunch "never-Trump" politicians like Michael Gerson, who worked with Kavanaugh at the George W. Bush White House and regularly blasphemed Trump on the Washington Post editorial pages, praised Kavanaugh's selections, though he probably added them to his former colleagues, who "rebel" against the president's "lawlessness and bullying".
Conservatives – even those who shrugged and called the candidate "uninspiring" or initially voiced concerns – held their fire.
But of course it is still early, and honeymoon usually does not last long in the capital of the country. To be precise, there are at least 40 days ahead of the 53-year-old candidate before the confirmation negotiations begin – if past is prologue, that is. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate's chairman, confirmed this week.
But the road to affirmation for Kavanaugh is littered with paper, possibly more than a million records from the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas alone, if all are released. Kavanaugh worked in the White House Chancellery and was a staff secretary, a position that touches almost everything that leads to the President's desk.
Delays are possible for whatever reason, and Grassley admitted that.
Opponents and supporters are now in Dallas to comb through the 16,180 documents released so far. Criminal proceedings calling into question document production were submitted this week by Federal Finance Minister Gabe Roth, head of the bipartisan group "Fix the Court", which advocates more transparency before the Supreme Court.
It is a guess where all this will lead, but if Democrats and their activist allies go their way, the lengthy document production will delay confirmation hearings. As noted by Demand Justice, a group that fights against the nomination, former Sen. Jon Kyl – who is the "Sherpa" for Kavanaugh – and other members of the Judiciary Committee in 2010, they struggled to publish all sorts of records back then – Supreme Court candidate Elena Kagan, who also served in the White House, like Kavanaugh. About 170,000 were finally released.
The Democrats call it "Elena Kagan Standard", but Grassley acknowledged that he would desire legitimate documents, but warned against any political playfulness, especially among those who have already announced opposition to the candidate on his panel.
Kavanaugh neglected to say anything during the traditional "courtesy call" tour with senators before his confirmation hearings in the presence of reporters. Nary a "hello" to be heard by him – just a big smile and an enthusiastic handshake with the member of the congress with him, while the camera room took up the always embarrassing spectacle.
It should be noted, however, that every visit this week was with a Republican, so Kavanaugh still has to move into potentially hostile territory.
The stakeholders, who waited more than a year for Kennedy's resignation, were expected to trigger their affluent campaigns, with clear benefits for the Republicans.
One group, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, launched a $ 1.4 million commercial in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia, and hopes to persuade the vulnerable Red Democrats to support Kavanaugh. Carrie Severino, the group's chief advisor, told ABC News, "We're ready to give everything we need."
Republicans have long put the judicial confirmatory battle on their list of priorities, meaning they have denser grass, much more money than their political rivals, so Democrats are catching up – trying to capture the same kind of lightning in their blue bottle and aiming to excite it their base to appear in the fall, where the control of Congress is at stake.
Anti-Kavanaugh ads released Friday by Demand Justice focus on a topic popular among voters in the political spectrum – guaranteed health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and the possibility that a judge Kavanaugh could give a crucial vote to this guarantee in the Affordable Care Act ,
The ads target the same three Democrats as JCN, who stand for reelection this year in conservative states that won Trump, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Alabama's Doug Jones will not stand for election until 2020, so the Democrats, unlike JCN, will not focus on him.
Two moderate GOP senators were followed this week by legions of political reporters around the Capitol to get a sense of their position. Susan Collins from Maine and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska were hit from all sides. The Democrats want them to stay on the fence for as long as possible in order to prevent their own Democrat Red Democrats from announcing their support. Republicans, who have a slim majority of 51, need their votes.
"The first week has been about as expected after the reality TV rollout," said Jim Manley, a Democratic Party veteran who worked for both the Senate and Justice Supreme Court Justice Committees. "The Republicans are working hard to portray it as American everyday life while showing the business community and others at their base that this is the kind of nominees they've been waiting for, while Democrats have tried, in my opinion, to try to go beyond the policy of abortion and call Kavanaugh the threat he poses on a whole range of issues, including health. "
The only obvious surprise for Kavanaugh to date has been a report of tens of thousands of debts the 53-year-old spent on baseball tickets and home improvements, the Washington Post reported for the first time. The Conservatives quickly rallied around the candidate, though he mocked the report and tweeted the Senate Majority Leader, "In a report on the latest news, last night, we learned that Judge Kavanaugh enjoys America's pastime."
In a "Breaking News" bomb report last night, we learned that Judge Kavanaugh enjoys America's pastime. ?????? pic.twitter.com/Yp9LIojey4
– Head McConnell (@ SenateMajLdr) July 12, 2018
As for the coming week, White House officials have failed to meet the judge's schedule, even though he has no meetings on Monday. The goal is for the judge to become a Democrat, but that remains to be seen.
White House Deputy Spokesman Raj Shah told ABC News that energetic preparatory sessions that in the past simulate "homicide" because of their intensity, and what White House lawyers now call "moots" (as in a lawsuit) probably start next week. Kyl is expected to attend.
"They will be as real as possible in both length and theme," Shah said, saying that they would take place in a large room in the Eisenhower Executive Office building next to the White House.
As for Kavanaugh, no matter how hard the preparatory work is, and apparently the candidate is known as a perfectionist, he has one thing he is looking forward to – the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday night, in which he wants to attend to a source.