Trump's Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh vows independence, sidesteps questions


The senators also said Kavanaugh was not on either of the two lists of potential Supreme Court nominees - many handpicked by the conservative Federalist Society - that Trump put out before taking office. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) whose remarks were most profound. "Judicial nominees have figured out all sorts of ways to avoid answering that question".

Comfortable in their ability to confirm Kavanaugh with a simple majority vote, Republicans hailed him as an outstanding jurist to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Kavanaugh is intimately familiar with the issue of White House documents and judicial nominations. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz asked easy questions of President Donald Trump's nominee, saving their verbal barbs for Senate Democrats.

"I certainly didn't like it, but I wasn't shocked", Miranda said. "I understand the importance of the issue".

Protesters again repeatedly disrupted the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Kavanaugh, including once during Hatch's 30-minute questioning and twice while Sen. The demonstrators fear that Kavanaugh's confirmation would shift the Supreme Court's balance for years on issues like abortion rights, LGBT freedoms and gun control.

Kavanaugh said in response to pointed questions by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii that women "need to know who they can call, when they can call".

Under intense scrutiny are his decisions over the past 11 years as a judge on the US Court of Appeals in Washington, as well as his previous roles as a legal adviser to former president George W. Bush and a participant in a special counsel probe that led to the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton.

Kavanaugh also said he was unaware of the domestic violence allegations against Rob Porter, who was Trump's staff secretary. Kamala Harris (D-CA) came down hard on Kavanaugh, saying she's deeply concerned that he's too guided by partisanship.

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Senate Democrats have vowed a fierce fight.

One such case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, established what Kavanaugh called a “precedent on precedent.” In contrast to Justice-To-Be Ginsburg in 1993, though, Judge Kavanaugh stopped short of giving his own views on abortion.

But with Wednesday offering the first opportunity for lawmakers to question Kavanaugh, it is unclear what disruptions, if any, will emerge.

Democrats have voiced concern about the nominee's views on the scope of presidential power. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who has served for decades on the Judiciary Committee and who knows a cover-up when he sees one.

Pressed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican, on whether he would be independent from the president who nominated him, Kavanaugh responded, "No one is above the law". It's also believed that Kavanaugh will likely overturn Roe V. Wade, the legal precedent that has ensured access to abortion for women across the United States at a federal level. Specifically, the court in its decision said the agency had the authority to reclassify internet services as a so-called Title II service under the Communications Act.

In an August 31 letter, Bill Burck informed the Committee for the first time that almost 102,000 pages of documents from Judge Kavanaugh's work in the White House Counsel's Office are being withheld from the Committee and the public based on "constitutional privilege". Rather, taking advantage of the unprecedented process used by Republicans to rush this nomination through the Senate with just a fraction of the nominee's records, the White House is now asserting that it can withhold whatever documents it wants without formally invoking executive privilege.

Kyl plans to be in Washington in time to vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The group's restrained method was a sharp contrast to other scenes going on throughout the Senate side of Capitol Hill.