Kavanaugh Hearing: Guide to Supreme Court Terms

Live Updates*** Senators Question Brett Kavanaugh					5 Sep 2018

"The president of the United States who has nominated you is an unindicted co-conspirator implicated in some of the most serious wrongdoing that involves the legitimacy of his presidency".

The BBC's Gary O'Donoghue, in Washington, says the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation in the 2016 election has raised important constitutional questions about the extent to which an incumbent president can be forced to co-operate.

Vermont's senior senator accused the judge of being aware of emails stolen from Leahy and other Democrats from 2001 to 2003 and having knowledge of the warrantless surveillance of United States citizens that went into effect in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

Kavanaugh responded that he had turned to Supreme Court precedent testing laws that require a teenager to notify or get permission from a parent before obtaining an abortion.

A protester is removed by Capitol police during the hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The hearing's focus on Wednesday on presidential power came amid a widening probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election and turmoil within the White House, clouding the presidency of Trump, who is working to get more conservative judges appointed to the federal courts.

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.

When asked whether a sitting President should be forced to respond to a subpoena, Kavanaugh said, "My understanding is that you're asking me to give my view on a potential hypothetical, and that is something that each of the eight justices now sitting on the Supreme Court, when they were sitting in my seat, declined to decide potential hypothetical cases".

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Asked about court precedents, the importance of previously settled cases including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that ensures access to abortion, Kavanaugh said, "Respect for precedent is important".

With the departure of retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, abortion rights could hang on Kavanaugh's vote.

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.

Twenty first-graders and six educators were murdered in the deadliest grade-school shooting in USA history.

"Of course the violence in the schools is something we all detest and want to do something about", Kavanaugh said.

Grassley ignored the Democrats' request to stop the hearing, saying it was "out of order". The hearing was disrupted by angry shouts from members of the public and lawmakers alike.

In his first day of answering questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh said that independence without prejudging cases is the "first quality of a good judge".

As for the back-and-forth that took up a majority of Tuesday morning's hearing, Grassley says the work the committee does on a regular basis shows a bipartisan spirit that sometimes is lacking during televised hearings.

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The entire Senate will most likely vote on confirmation by the end of the month.

These claims of legal objectivity came as Democrats on the committee, whose railing against Kavanaugh's nomination reached a fever pitch on Tuesday, grilled him over his record and legal views.

Republicans hold a one-vote Senate majority. The court begins its next term in October.

He studied law at Yale and is a resident of the wealthy Washington suburb of Chevy Chase.

During one tense exchange, Harris asked Kavanaugh if he had ever discussed the special counsel Robert Mueller with anyone at the Kasowitz, Benson and Torres law firm.

Republicans also have released some, but not all, of the existing documents concerning Kavanaugh's two prior years as a lawyer in the White House Counsel's Office under Bush.

A Catholic, he has been a US Court of Appeals judge in Washington for the past 11 years.

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