Brett Kavanaugh's Odds Of Being Confirmed

On July 11th, in the immediate aftermath of President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, I broke down the odds of Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed to the Supreme Court. Of course, none of us had any idea that at the onset of October we would have the confirmation process for him moving forward but with the most toxic mix of political bile, and most salacious allegations for any nominee since Clarence Thomas. 

I do recall having a number of listeners reaching out to me surprised by my initial analysis demonstrating the odds of confirmation being just over two-thirds, rather than higher. Kavanaugh was seemingly as clean of a pick as you could have, and the Republicans had a majority. Sure, there would be consternation but in the end a confirmation. Here’s an excerpt from my July 11th story: 

Brett's odds of being confirmed are... 68%. Why 68%?  There have been 113 confirmed Supreme Court justices with 32 nominees who weren't confirmed at the time of original nomination (of those 32 non-confirmations – seven of the candidates did eventually win confirmation to the court). So, in full context, there's an 83% chance that Brett Kavanaugh will be a Supreme Court Justice.   

Some might be surprised to know that despite the perception of modern politics being more partisan and divided – most rejections took place in the first half of our country's history. 21 of the 32 nominees to not receive initial confirmation were nominated prior to 1900.  

For the 32 nominees who weren’t confirmed to the court at the time of the nomination, their stories/outcomes weren’t generally predictable either. So, here we are with another week of lord knows what waiting in front of us. Now that we’re this far into the process there is only one of the 113 nominations that’s a comp. It’s Clarence Thomas. 

So, despite everything that’s happened, all of the emotions, hatred, accusations, hearings, etc. The odds remain. Kavanaugh still retains a slightly better than 2/3rd’s chance of being confirmed and the only person who can relate to what he’s going through is on the Supreme Court currently.  

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