Senate Judiciary holds confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court nominee

Terence Little
September 5, 2018

Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as morning session ended. "Our independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic".

United States lawmakers began a hearing today on a new candidate for the Supreme Court.

Democrats have accused Senate Republican leaders of stealing a Supreme Court seat when they refused to consider Merrick Garland, Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to the high court, in 2016. He asked Kavanaugh, who sat before the committee with White House officials behind him, to introduce his parents, wife and children.

When Grassley pressed on, speaking over Harris, her objection was reinforced by interventions from other Democrats, in a choreographed show of dissent from Democrats under fierce pressure from their grassroots voters to disrupt Kavanaugh's likely confirmation.

A heckler interrupts the proceedings during the first day of hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in Washington, on September 4, 2018.

There were reportedly concerns that a walkout might backfire, and this way Democratic voters got to watch their senators taking on Kavanaugh, rather than staring at a half-empty chamber.

Guttenberg has become a prominent advocate for gun control, including stricter regulation on military-style "assault weapons", after his 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was shot to death in her school hallway this February with a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle.

Potential 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. "We have not had an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing", Democratic Senator Kamala Harris said. There were no signs of Republican defections.

Irked by a protester who interrupted him, Sen. "So, I am concerned, I think the American people have a right to see these documents".

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The nine-justice court has until now been balanced between conservatives and liberals, with Anthony Kennedy considered the "swing vote".

While about 500,000 pages of documents have been turned over from his early years in the White House counsel's office, a larger set of documents from his time as staff secretary to President George W. Bush won't be released.

Democrats have been fiercely critical of the Trump administration for not providing sufficient documentation about Kavanaugh's time in Bush's White House, where he may have played key roles in terrorism-related decisions such as permitting the torture of detainees. Video of the encounter was shared widely on social media.

'I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence'.

White House spokesperson Raj Shah said security intervened before Kavanaugh could shake the hand of the "unidentified individual".

There is a long history of heated fights over US Supreme Court nominations, with anger in both parties. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) estimated it would have required staffers to review 7,000 pages of documents per hour.

Questioning of the nominee will begin on Wednesday, and votes in committee and on the Senate floor could occur later in September. He cited Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan as insisting in their confirmation hearings that nominees can offer no forecasts or hints on how they might rule on a case.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Make America Great Again" rally in Evansville, Indiana, Aug. 30, 2018.

Guttenberg tweeted about the moment, and Chelsea Clinton responded, saying "I am so very, very sorry Fred this happened".

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