Senate begins final day of Supreme Court nominee hearings


"Our bodies, our choice". "We shouldn't have to put up with this kind of stuff".

Kavanaugh, 53, is a conservative who could tip the court's balance for a generation and play a decisive role on issues like abortion access, gay marriage and executive branch oversight.

But, as with Judge Robert Bork, President Ronald Reagan's 1987 nominee, Democrats are hoping to paint Kavanaugh, a devout Catholic, as dangerously out of touch with mainstream America, especially with reproductive rights as decided in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman's constitutional right to abortion.

The New York Times also received committee confidential documents from an "unknown person" late Wednesday night, showing Kavanaugh discussing affirmative action and abortion.

Sasse has been a long-time supporter of Trump's selection of Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice.

Kavanaugh explained this week that in the email he was simply editing a proposed op-ed article and that the descriptive "all legal scholars" was overly broad. "And he'll keep releasing them because Republicans are hiding Brett Kavanaugh's record from the American people", the spokesperson, Kristin Lynch said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) questioned Kavanaugh about the email Thursday, asking him to clarify what he meant by it. He dodged questions about whether a president could pardon himself, or could be subject to a subpeona, although he did call the Supreme Court's 1974 decision that forced President Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes "one of the greatest moments in American judicial history". Our party controls neither the White House nor the Senate.

A major issue surrounding Brett Kavanaugh's potential appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court is the lack of transparency in releasing the records of his public career.

"Under Judge Kavanaugh's recommendation, if a president shot someone in cold blood on Fifth Avenue that president could not be prosecuted while in office", Dean told senators, a reference to Trump's oft-repeated campaign line that he could act that way and not lose support. Throughout his testimony, Kavanaugh has repeatedly insisted he fully embraces the importance of judicial independence. "I'm not a skeptic of regulation at all".

"Democrats should fight like hell", he said, "even if it's not going to sway Susan Collins".

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Let's unpack that statement: Regulation "outside the bounds of what the laws passed by Congress have said" is contrary to a basic tenet of Republican and conservative principles about small government and limited governmental.

Chevron deference has been used to defend environmental, worker and consumer regulations.

Much of the give and take was political theatre from the senators, some of whom - like Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California - have presidential ambitions.

Harris also was widely praised for her intense questioning on whether Kavanaugh spoke with anyone at Trump's lawyer's firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation in the 2016 election. Kavanaugh struggled to find a response.

"I'm not aware - I'm not - thinking of any right now, senator", he finally said, stammering a bit.

The Judiciary Committee is likely to vote on confirmation on September 20, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming for a full Senate vote before the court begins its new term on October 1.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. called the process "a bit of a sham". John Cornyn of Texas, bemoaned the "mob rule" at the hearings.

At the end of the week, it's nearly certain that none of the drama changed any minds.

The tone is different from Kavanaugh's remarks stressing how hard it is to overturn precedent like Roe during confirmation hearings, which opened for a third day Thursday with angry complaints and finger-pointing among senators over the unusual vetting process for the judge.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the third day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 6, 2018.