Democrats have won control over the Congress for the first time in 8 years. As per the results so far, Democrats have 219 seats in the House, one more than 218 required to form a majority. The Senate, however, remains with the Republicans, which means Trump nominees for top jobs will have an easy time getting confirmed.
Control over the Congress means Democrats could thwart Trump’s legislative agenda. That is less important than the Congress’ role to serve as a check and balance on the executive. They have the mandate to begin an investigation into Trump’s conflict of interests, financial history etc. Although the House cannot impeach Trump by itself, it could inflict political damage to the GOP and Trump in particular.
Another official who could face the ire of the Democrat-controlled House is Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Last month, Democratic Rep Jerrold Nadler of New York vowed to start an investigation against Kavanaugh if the Democrats won the House back.
Rather than limiting the scope of the investigation to just sexual misconduct accusations, he said that they would look into perjury charges as well. There were signs that Kavanaugh had lied about things like his drinking habits during the Senate testimony.
The sentiment seemed wholly popular amongst the Democrats who were left unsatisfied with the FBI review. Rep Jerrold Nadler, who is likely to be the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee called the FBI review into Kavanaugh a whitewash.
As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he will have the authority to subpoena documents from the White House and the FBI. These documents would even have the memos shared between officials at each of the entities.
So if there was even a sliver of political bias in communication between the White House officials, Democrats could raise a storm about GOP’s disregard for laws and ethics. Nancy Pelosi already hinted that that would be the role of the Congress. In her speech last night, she said that they would serve as ‘checks and balances’ to Trump.
Despite the vow to investigate Kavanaugh’s appointment, Rep Nadler fell short of signaling an outright impeachment of the Judge. His only contention is that the American people ought to know whether his confirmation was a fair process. Again, this would inflict little beyond political damage. Impeaching Brett Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court would require a two-thirds majority from the Senate.
Justice Samuel Chase remains the only Supreme Court Justice to have been impeached. The charge against him was that he gave politically biased rulings, which has now become a norm in America and prompts no scrutiny whatsoever.
If the investigation against Kavanaugh turns up anything, it will severely undermine the faith in the judiciary especially as Trump fills Federal Courts with conservative ideologues. With the likelihood of the Mueller investigation ending up in the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh’s vote may decide the future of American politics.