Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS Confirmation Odds Shortening

Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS Confirmation Odds Shortening article feature image

Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY. Pictured: Brett Kavanaugh

  • Brett Kavanaugh was a -500 favorite to be confirmed to the Supreme Court just two weeks ago.
  • Oddsmakers has since taken down the prop, although PredictIt still has odds on whether Kavanaugh will be confirmed by Aug. 31 and in September.
  • The odds for Kavanaugh being confirmed in September have dropped from 67% two weeks ago to 52% today.

Pundits on both sides of the aisle were surprised when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was stepping down in June, giving President Trump his second SCOTUS nominee in his first two years.

Trump’s selection to replace Kennedy is Brett Kavanaugh, a current appeals judge appointed by former president George W. Bush.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a contentious issue in politics right now, and per FiveThirtyEight, he’s not a publicly popular pick. According to the politics website, Kavanaugh has a “Net Confirmation Support” margin of +5, which is the lowest mark of the past eight nominees since John Roberts in 2005.

The two other nominees below +10 since 1987 — Harriet Miers and Robert Bork — were not confirmed.

Nevertheless, it’s a different era for SCOTUS nominees: Senate Republicans in 2017 lowered the threshold to end the filibuster debate from 60 to 51 votes, essentially making the SCOTUS confirmation process a simple majority affair. And, of course, for now the Republicans hold a 51-49 edge in the Senate. If all Senators vote along party lines (although that’s up in the air, and it’s possible Arizona Senator John McCain might not be able to vote due to health issues), Kavanaugh will be confirmed despite his lack of popularity among pollers.

Politics speculation website allows anyone to predict when Kavanaugh will be confirmed; we last gave an update about two weeks ago. Here’s the current market on whether he’ll be confirmed by Aug. 31:

The market has held firm, which is predicting that he’s quite unlikely to be confirmed before September. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has consistently stated that they’d move to vote this fall and ideally before SCOTUS resumes hearing cases in October. Thus, September is a more interesting debate:

The betting market has drastically shifted over the past two weeks, with “Yes” now down to 52% in the market. There has been a lot of news in recent weeks about Kavanaugh, who has a long paper trail of opinions throughout his career. It’s clear Senate Democrats will fight his confirmation in a big way once the process begins.

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But even if Kavanaugh doesn’t get through in September, and even if his confirmation somehow makes it past midterms in November, the betting market is bullish on Republicans retaining control of the Senate. Here are the current odds as of today:

  • Republican Majority: 75% (-300 odds)
  • Democratic Majority: 18.2% (+450 odds)
  • No Majority: 18.2% (+450 odds)

Make sure to keep an eye on all of our politics betting content; we’ll make sure to update you as odds in the market shift.