Democrats Fail to Derail Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing Despite Pandemonium, Protests

Democratic senators tag-teamed Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley from the very start of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

White House counsel Don McGahn, smiles as he attends a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, left, with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, Sept. 4, 2018, in Washington.

"I think the first quality of a good judge in our constitutional system is independence", Kavanaugh added.

Trump has often criticised the federal judiciary, and some liberals fear Kavanaugh could serve as a rubber stamp for the president. Richard Blumenthal of CT, "selecting a justice on the Supreme Court who potentially will cast a decisive vote in his own case".

He said he would respect past Supreme Court rulings.

Grassley has already urged the judge to invoke the so-called Ginsburg Rule and follow the example of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who as a nominee refused to answer questions that would hint or foreshadow future decisions.

In total, the Democrats spoke out of turn and interrupted the hearing 63 times and complained about the withholding of documents 129 times, according to a tally kept by White House spokesperson Raj Shah. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, said in an unsparing opening statement that criticized Kavanaugh's judicial opinions and the Senate process that Democrats said had deprived them of access to records of important chunks of Kavanaugh's time as an aide to former president George W. Bush.

Under the standard to which Kavanaugh was referring, known colloquially as the "Ginsburg standard", a Supreme Court nominee can decline to comment on specific topics or cases that could potentially come before them as a judge. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

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In 2009, Kavanaugh wrote a law review article saying presidents should be free from the distractions of civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, and investigations while in office.

Kavanaugh called the Roe decision "an important precedent of the Supreme Court that has been reaffirmed many times". "I understand the importance that people attach to the Roe v. Wade decision, to the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision".

Kavanaugh said he would have a "completely open mind" if the legal issues came before him as a judge.

While stopping short of calling the Roe case correctly decided, Kavanaugh's remarks suggested he might be cautious toward overturning it. But that may not preclude him from joining the court's other conservatives in restricting its scope by upholding abortion restrictions enacted in conservative states.

On gun rights, Feinstein pressed Kavanaugh on his 2011 dissent in an appellate ruling upholding a District of Columbia gun law banning semi-automatic rifles. Kavanaugh said then that such guns were covered by the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms.

"My mom taught me in the first instance, judging is not just about theory", he said.

The hearing gave Democrats a chance to make their case against Kavanaugh ahead of November's congressional elections, in which they are seeking to seize control of Congress from Trump's fellow Republicans.

Trump picked Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on June 27.

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