Kavanaugh pledges to be 'team player' on Supreme Court

Audrey Hill
September 6, 2018

A woman stands and voices her opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination for Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill, September 4, 2018, in Washington, DC.

For a second day, the judge nominated by Trump insisted to probing senators that he fully embraced the importance of judicial independence. Mike Lee (R-UT) objected, saying the question wasn't fair given how many lawyers there are.

"A good judge must be an umpire-a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy", Kavanaugh said in his opening statement at the tail end of the meeting. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) demanded.

Kavanaugh declared he would be even-handed in his approach to the law.

Its tempting to hope the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh will finish the way they began.

The decision to hide a significant portion of Judge Kavanaugh's White House record-announced on the eve of his confirmation hearing for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court-is deeply concerning.

But Kavanaugh's nomination languished for three years, as Democrats fumed over his participation in Bush's recount team.

Kavanaugh - holding his daughter's hand and smiling broadly as he entered the hearing rooming - sat stone-faced minutes later as lawmakers spoke loudly over one another, and protesters erupted in anger from the back of the hearing room, leading police to eject them from the proceedings. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says opponents' grandstanding over withheld documents pertaining to Judge Brett Kavanaugh's time in the White House is misplaced. He said he "saw some incredible answers to very complex questions".

Asked why Democrats shouldn't have a chance to thoroughly review and vet those documents, Grassley said "because it's irrelevant to his being a judge".

"That's his record", she said.

The Democrats weren't the only ones who recognized the importance of questions about Trump and the Russian Federation investigation. Kavanaugh said he reversed the conviction of a man in a military commissions case who was convicted for an offense that wasn't an identified crime at the time it happened.

As you know, executive privilege has never before been invoked to block the release of presidential records to the Senate during a Supreme Court nomination.

"Indeed, our Democratic colleagues want justices who will rubber-stamp efforts like the Obama administration efforts litigating against the Little Sisters of the Poor - litigating against Catholic nuns, trying to force them to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in others".

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"The Constitution itself seems to dictate, in addition, that congressional investigation must take place in lieu of criminal investigation when the President is the subject of investigation, and that criminal prosecution can occur only after the President has left office", he wrote in the Georgetown Law Review.

Grassley told Kavanaugh to continue speaking, despite the outbursts. "Precedent is rooted right in the Constitution itself". The Republicans guiding Kavanaugh know today that they have the votes to ensure his committee endorsement and a narrow majority to win in the full Senate.

Kavanaugh signaled respect for the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion nationwide, calling it an important legal precedent that had been reaffirmed by the justices over the decades.

Kavanaugh defended his dissenting opinion a year ago in the case of a pregnant immigrant teen in federal custody. Kavanaugh argued that the detained 17-year-old needed to be transferred to an "immigration sponsor" before being immediately allowed an abortion.

Kavanaugh cited his opinion in a case involving a Guantanamo Bay detainee that went against Republican former President George W. Bush, who appointed him to his current judgeship.

With his wife, two children and parents sitting behind him, Kavanaugh called himself a judge with a straightforward judicial philosophy.

Kavanaugh said he had known nothing about the allegations until they were disclosed previous year. "I'm in a wheelchair and I traveled here from IL", said another.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah claimed on Twitter that security intervened before Kavanaugh had a chance to respond to Guttenberg.

But Booker says he can't share the email with the nominee because it is among those that have been labelled "committee confidential" - available to senators, but not the public.

The court order forces a witness to appear to give testimony.

Kyl will have the option to hold the Arizona Senate seat until the next general election in 2020, but it's unclear if he'll stay in the post that long. He said no one from the committee, Democrat or Republican, had contacted him to hear his side of the story.

The committee struggled to get through a raucous hearing that was frequently disrupted by people shouting from the audience. He is up for re-election this fall in a state Trump won handily in 2016. Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only two Republicans even remotely open to voting against Kavanaugh, though neither has said she would do so.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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