Kavanaugh hearing ends with Democrats saying abortion rights, executive power at stake

Kavanaugh hearing ends with Democrats saying abortion rights, executive power at stake

Democrats brought a series of emotional witnesses to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday to sound more warnings about what Kavanaugh would mean for the country's legal landscape, while witnesses invited by Republicans gave straightforward descriptions of an appeals court judge with the credentials to join the high court. He demonstrated an nearly photographic memory of the law and the decisions he had written in his 12 years as member of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as well as the many important decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. REUTERS/Alex WroblewskiProtesters are carried out by police while the 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.

The tone in the email from 2003 contrasted with his responses to questions on Wednesday when he stressed how hard it is to overturn precedents like Roe.

Kavanaugh completed two days of lengthy questioning by senators on Thursday night, keeping his composure under intense questioning by Democrats and avoiding any stumbles that could have tripped up his confirmation. Kavanaugh wrote that "I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent", which is precisely what pro-abortion rights advocates fear most - and that Kavanaugh would be part of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court to do just that. The document was partially redacted.

In its fourth day of the hearing, the committee on Friday heard from outside witnesses testifying for and against the nomination, with protesters again interrupting the proceedings in opposition to Kavanaugh.

Democrats painted Kavanaugh as a threat to abortion rights. "I have made it clear, I am an independent judge" and vowed to stay "three ZIP codes away" from politics.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of IL put the focus on Trump, who Durbin said, "has shown contempt for the federal judiciary and has shown disrespect for the rule of law over and over again". He trod a careful line when it came to Trump. When Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT invited him to denounce Trump's criticism of federal judges, the nominee demurred.

"Disrupting the hearings was a way for us to go directly into the homes of the American people to say, 'We will not be silenced and you need to be as outraged as we are, ' " said Linda Sarsour, a co-chair of the Women's March and one of the organizers of this week's protests.

Democratic senators running for re-election in states where Trump is popular have the most to lose from the party's Supreme Court fight. The firm in question was founded by Marc Kasowitz, who has represented Trump. "So I think it's been not helpful to any cause that I can see".

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Grassley, R-Iowa, said there's "plenty of time" to review documents but now it's time for Americans "to hear directly" from Kavanaugh.

On a separate track, Sen.

Sen. Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, posed a real-world question when he asked Kavanaugh to weigh in about Trump's recent tweet that criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department for indicting two Republican congressman ahead of the midterm elections and "putting two easy wins in doubt".

Much of the debate among senators has focused more on the disclosure of documents than on Kavanaugh's record. Other Senate Democrats mentioned as 2020 prospects, such as New York's Kirsten Gillibrand, California's Kamala Harris and Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, have steered clear of the early presidential proving ground.

The disruptions throughout the hearing rankled senators on the Judiciary Committee.

"We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker's histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly", Burck said by email.

That was how one commentator responded to a flurry of new documents and emails released on Thursday by Sens.

Despite such criticism, Sarsour said, "the women who have been arrested over the last few days" helped generate "political will for Senate Democrats to show some moral courage". A White House spokesman said security intervened before Kavanaugh could take his hand.

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