Supreme Court nominee steers clear of Trump criticism

Senate Judiciary Committee

During Brett Kavanuagh's confirmation hearings this week, the Supreme Court nominee underwent intense questioning about his judicial record, views on reproductive rights, close proximity to a man accused of sexual misconduct, and stance on assault weapons, to name a few. Kavanaugh appears on track for a committee vote on September 20 and a confirmation vote before the end of the month, which would solidify the conservative tilt of the Supreme Court. Democrats also said Kavanaugh, a former lawyer in the George W Bush White House, sought to obscure his own positions on presidential immunity, racial profiling and other issues.

Democratic senators kept the heat on Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the third day of his Senate confirmation hearings, asking pointed questions about his leanings on women's rights, racial profiling, and the potential role he could play if a case related to the Russian Federation investigation reaches the Supreme Court. Republicans hold only a slim 51-49 majority.

Despite concerns by democrats, republicans are predicting Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

The Archives has said its review of some 1 million pages of Kavanaugh records the committee requested will not be fully available until the end of October. If approved by the full Senate, Kavanaugh would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

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.

"That's not fair to us and, frankly Judge it's not fair to you", Leahy said.

Fears that Kavanaugh, if confirmed to the court by the Senate, could open the door to scaling back abortion access, were a key focus at the hearing.

The hearing ended on Friday after the committee heard from outside witnesses testifying for and against the nomination, with anti-Kavanaugh protesters again interrupting the proceedings. But under questioning by Durbin on the scope of presidential power, Kavanaugh underscored judicial authority.

"When a court order requires a president to do something or prohibits a president from doing something under the Constitution or laws of the United States, under our constitutional system, that is the final word", Kavanaugh said.

"The fact we could be adding a justice to the court that has indicated he's not too sure terrified me", Beddard said.

A newly disclosed email suggested Kavanaugh once indicated the abortion case was not settled law, though Kavanaugh denied in the hearing that he had been expressing his personal views.

On Friday, New York University law professor Melissa Murray told lawmakers that Kavanaugh would provide the "necessary fifth vote that would utterly eviscerate" Roe v. Wade.

Leahy's charge stems from an infamous episode between 2001 and 2003 when a Republican counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Manuel Miranda, learned that Democrats on the panel had put documents on a computer server shared with Republicans.

"When he (Nicholas) fell over, I fell over with him", she said.

"But with a president who seems to want to overreach in terms of his power, Kavanaugh, of the list of 25, was the one who is most willing to allow a president to overreach", Schumer told Catsimatidis.

In a summary of the argument presented by the pro-life Catholic group Priests for Life in the case Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which was brought over the HHS contraception mandate, Kavanaugh stated that the priests "said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objecting to".

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