Who is Donald Trump's 'controversial' Supreme Court nominee?

Cristina Cross
September 6, 2018

Kavanaugh is Trump's nominee to join the Supreme Court. In fact, the atmosphere became so offensive that Ashley Kavanaugh, the judge's wife, was forced to quickly escort her visibly upset young daughters from the hearing room. Not really, according to Kathleen Clark, a professor of law at Washington University School of Law.

Democrats started to question Kavanaugh on abortion and gun rights, among other issues. "The Constitution establishes me as an independent judge bound to follow the law as written, the precedents of the Supreme Court". "He's not being very specific", she said during a break in the proceedings.

Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion ruling, was an early line of questioning.

Asked directly by Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator from California, for his position on a woman's right to choose, Kavanaugh again cited legal precedent, while adding: "I understand how passionately and deeply people feel about the issue. This seems to me to be an effort at guilt by association, which is not the way this committee should operate", Hatch said.

He also avoided Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy's question about whether a president could pardon himself, or someone else in exchange for a promise not to testify against him. We have previously expressed our concern that the Committee is receiving only a small fraction of Judge Kavanaugh's White House record, filtered through an opaque private review process being conducted by outside private lawyers rather than the nonpartisan National Archives.

Chief among them was his views on abortion amid concerns that Kavanaugh's confirmation will all but ensure an end to legal abortion across the U.S., long a goal of ultra-conservatives.

Kavanaugh called the Roe decision "an important precedent of the Supreme Court that has been reaffirmed many times".

Klobuchar noted that Kavanaugh's explanation in his dissent that the court could distinguish between a "major" and "minor" question with respect to deferring to an expert agency when there was ambiguity in the law would be a "you-know-it-when-you-see-it" standard was the reason that the other judges didn't agree with Kavanaugh.

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As an example of precedent, he cited United States v Nixon, the Supreme Court's unanimous 1974 ruling that president Richard Nixon was required to comply with a subpoena seeking the Watergate tapes. "I believe this [shows] you're willing to disregard precedent".

"Gosh, we've heard that so often", Durbin replied. "Brett Kavanaugh is an extremist ideologue who, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, will take away women's basic rights".

Before the hearing even officially began, Democrats tried to put a stop to it, complaining that they had not received thousands of documents related to Kavanaugh's background, and that thousands of pages that they did receive were not turned over to them until the night before.

In his opening remarks, Grassley accused Democrats - who plotted strategy for the hearing on a conference call Monday - of colluding with protesters to disrupt the hearing.

"What a bunch of dumbbells", Sen.

Trump said he listened to a few minutes of Wednesday's hearing, and concluded that Kavanaugh displayed an "outstanding intellect".

Trump himself loomed large over the hearings, with senators raising questions about Kavanaugh's views of executive power.

"The Democrats are focused on procedural issues because they don't have substantive points strong enough to derail this nomination", said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), have suggested that Trump nominated Kavanaugh in an effort to protect himself from possible legal peril stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, along with an FBI investigation into the president's former longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

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