Day two of Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh got underway Wednesday morning – a process that will culminate in massive civil rights rollbacks if Kavanaugh is appointed, according to Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP.
But Democrats are powerless to delay a vote on Kavanaugh since McConnell led Republicans, during the Gorsuch nomination, in eliminating the 60-vote filibuster threshold that had been in place for Supreme Court nominations. He condemned the spate of USA school shootings but defended an opinion he wrote questioning whether semi-automatic rifles could be banned.
Trump has often criticized the federal judiciary.
Leahy pressed on by asking if Trump has the authority to pardon people “in exchange for a promise from that person that they wouldn’t testify against him”.
“The first thing that makes a good judge is independence, not being swayed by political or public pressure”, the conservative federal appeals court judge told the Judiciary Committee’s GOP chairman, Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Ever the polished politician, Kavanaugh took time to explain why he was dodging all these “how would you rule on …?” questions: “My personal beliefs are not relevant to how I decide cases”, he said.
Kavanaugh is a clear, direct speaker who can tailor his words to whether he’s talking to a critic or a supporter. Orrin Hatch tried to get the jump on Democrats with questions for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about allegiance to the president, his relationship with a judge accused of sexual misconduct and separation of powers Wednesday.
“I understand the importance of the precedent set forth in Roe v Wade”, he said.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh is expected to move the court, which already had a conservative majority, further to the right. “Anything less than 49 Democratic votes against Kavanaugh would be a massive failure of your leadership”.
Guttenberg is attending the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as a guest of Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Tuesday is being devoted to opening statements by committee members, three people chosen to introduce Kavanaugh and, finally, the judge himself. For more on Kavanaugh’s record, including his time working on the Ken Starr investigation of Bill Clinton, his thoughts on Roe v. Wade, and the fact he argued the President should be above the law, read this. Kennedy had a track record of siding with the more liberal justices on the bench on some decisions, the more conservative wing on others.
Democrats are keen to push Mr Kavanaugh on the issue, he adds.
Next, Sen. Feinstein goes for the third rail: abortion. Additionally, the right to use contraception, whether you are married or single, is also protected as a constitutional right dating back to the decision of Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972.
Supreme Court justices are generally reluctant to overturn precedent, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
“We completely recognize that elections have consequences”, said Johnson. Kavanaugh declined to answer. That prompted another White House official to say, apparently jokingly, that they were “denying historians and generations of American schoolchildren important information about their government”.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah claimed on Twitter that security intervened before Kavanaugh had a chance to respond to Guttenberg.
The interruptions, combined with shouting and screaming from hecklers in the audience, created a level of chaos that served to underscore the historical significance of Kavanaugh’s appointment and the effect his presence on the court may have in the years to come.
The following year, The Washington Post reported that Kavanaugh had participated in a discussion in the White House Counsel’s Office about how Justice Anthony Kennedy – for whom he had clerked – would view the detainee policy.