Capitol Retort: Kavanaugh confirmed; police review; skol Vikings.


Byline: Kevin Featherly

Editor's note: Welcome to Capitol Retort, our weekly review of issues in state and national news, with a rotating cast of legal and political people in the know. Answers are edited for length and clarity. Any instances of agreement are accidental.

Question 1: After prevailing in the U.S. Senate 50-48, Brett Kavanaugh is now a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. When you look back in years to come, what impression from his bruising confirmation fight do you think will most resonate with you?

Annette Meeks, GOP political analyst: That's a tough one. I think it's kind of emblematic of the great and deep divide we have in this country. I hope this is the beginning of bringing people together and not having greater divisions going forward.

David Ornstein, retired Bloomington city attorney: The bottom line with me was his opening statement, more than anything. Blaming the left, the Democrats, the Clintons, certainly for me caused a real concern as it did for former Justice John Paul Stevens about whether he had the temperament and the open-mindedness to be a good judge on the U.S. Supreme Court. So I would not have voted for him on that basis alone.

Sarah Walker, progressive lobbyist: Obviously, many women in light of the #MeToo movement including myself feel a little bit disheartened by his confirmation. However, the thing that is going to resonate most with me is actually my deep concerns about the integrity of the court and the blatant partisanship that came across in his testimony.

Greg Davids, GOP House Taxes Committee chair: Just that he is a tough one who can take a punch especially an unfair punch. So I am glad he prevailed. I think he'll do a great job on the court.

Question 2: Last week, Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom said he would not review the DFL's report on abuse allegations against Minnesota Attorney General candidate Keith Ellison without a police review. No police have taken it up. Is it important that an official review take place? Will it ever happen?

Meeks: Yes and no. It has become like a political hot potato nobody wants to touch it. I think that is really unfortunate for Ms. [Karen] Monahan and everyone else who thought they were playing by the rules.

Ornstein: Based on the assumption that this woman's allegations are true, does that rise to the level of a criminal assault or a criminal offense? I'm really skeptical it does. I'm not a big fan of Keith Ellison, and I don't plan on voting for...

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