Democrats demand delay of Supreme Court justice hearing

Cristina Cross
September 6, 2018

The court begins its next term in October. "I'm going to be asking you if Roe v. Wade is correctly decided", he said to Kavanaugh. He condemned the spate of US school shootings but defended an opinion he wrote questioning whether semi-automatic rifles could be banned.

The Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the Senate but are nevertheless expected to have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterm elections in November. Such as it was this morning, when dozens of women dressed in bright red robes and large white head covers silently met Brett Kavanaugh and the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington.

Kavanaugh has often praised U.S. v. Nixon, the landmark Supreme Court decision which required then-President Richard Nixon to comply with a subpoena from a special prosecutor who sought tapes and documents pertaining to the Watergate scandal.

But this was only her opening statement, which didn't leave an opportunity for Kavanaugh to say anything back that might clarify his views.

Trump has often criticized the judiciary.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday said that Roe v. Wade has been "reaffirmed many times".

With the president facing a sweeping investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it may have appealed to him to nominate a justice who has argued that the commander in chief should be shielded from criminal prosecution while in office.

"I can't give you an answer on that hypothetical question", Kavanaugh said.

Nominees generally decline to answer questions they deem could potentially come before the court. "I will do equal right to the poor and to the rich", Kavanaugh said.

Trump's first nominee to the high court, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed in April 2017, 14 months after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia created a vacancy in President Barack Obama's previous year in office.

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Kavanaugh declined to answer a series of questions about the powers of the president, questions important to Democrats particularly because of ongoing investigations surrounding President Donald Trump.

"This is something I've never gone through before", Grassley acknowledged.

In citing examples of judicial independence, Kavanaugh lauded a 1974 ruling ordering President Richard Nixon to hand over subpoenaed materials during the Watergate scandal and a 1954 Supreme Court ruling ending racial segregation in public schools.

Today marks the start of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing as he faces questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Wednesday was a little calmer, after the opening day on Tuesday quickly became a cacophony of yelling protesters incensed at the choice of Kavanaugh and repeated interruptions by Democratic senators angry at the late disclosure of documents by the White House about the judge's track record.

Kavanaugh's views on abortion are at the center of his Supreme Court confirmation battle. The change could make the court more conservative on a range of issues.

Grassley noted that despite his staff being available around the clock to help Democrats access records, not a single Democratic senator showed up. The ruling was later overturned and she had the abortion.

"We were not able to get a lot of documents we felt we were entitled to", said Sen.

Kavanaugh is intimately familiar with the issue of White House documents and judicial nominations. He had just come from the Bush White House, where he watched a president wage war while trying to protect America from future 9/11-style terrorist attacks. At age 53, Kavanaugh could serve on the court for decades.

Democrats accuse Senate Republican leaders of stealing a Supreme Court seat by refusing to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to the high court, Merrick Garland, in 2016, allowing Trump to fill a Supreme Court vacancy instead.

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