Kavanaugh hearing: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee faces Senate grilling

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"That's a violation of judicial independence", he said.

If approved, he would be expected to tilt the court's balance to the right.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh's remarks were not the words of a man interviewing for a spot on the highest court of the land. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) made salient points.

Republican senator Orrin Hatch said Kavanaugh was one of the most impressive Supreme Court nominees he had come across despite Democrats portraying him as "one of four horsemen of the apocalypse".

"I'm very honored to be here", Kavanaugh said.

"We can not possibly move forward", Harris, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender, said.

"We go to these hearings under protest", said Sen.

The hearing kicked off with chaos Tuesday as Democrats demanded more time to review 42,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh's time working in President George W. Bush's White House.

Grassley said that senior Democrats have said in the past that "the best judge of whether a candidate should be on the Supreme Court are the cases they've already heard on lower courts" - and that the same standard should be applied to Kavanaugh. So far, there are no signs of Republican defections.

Besides, Grassley pointed out, not a single Democratic senator has said he or she will vote to confirm Kavanaugh, so putting off the hearings would be pointless.

Some of the sessions have focused on making sure that he was comfortable "with people shouting him down" or being heckled by protesters.

"That is why a lot of people are concerned about this administration and why they want to ensure that our institutions hold", Flake said.

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The nine-justice court has until now been balanced between conservatives and liberals, with Anthony Kennedy considered the "swing vote". That job involved managing paper flow from advisers to Bush.

Kavanaugh sat, fingers intertwined, quietly staring ahead at the committee members as audience members screamed while being dragged out of the hearing room.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was killed in the February 2018 attack, approached Kavanaugh after he rose from the witness table for a lunch break. Video of the encounter was shared widely on social media.

"I wanted to be there to make sure he understands what he's being asked to do has real-world consequences", Guttenberg said.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah claimed on Twitter that security intervened before Kavanaugh had a chance to respond to Guttenberg. Not the U.S. Supreme Court. But the Democratic frustrations that boiled over on Tuesday had been simmering for more than two years.

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.

Grassley is chairing the confirmation hearing later Tuesday for President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court.

The Senate is likely to vote on confirmation by the end of September. If he is accepted, he could begin work as early as October 1.

By not staging a walkout, however, Democrats also allowed themselves to become part of the process and grill Kavanaugh in the upcoming hearings, hoping to mobilize opposition to his candidacy.

Trump campaigned on a promise to nominate pro-life judges and justices, and Democrats warn that Kavanaugh may seek to overturn Roe.

"We have to confront an uncomfortable but important question about whether President Trump may have selected you, Judge Kavanaugh, with an eye towards protecting himself", said Sen. "I don't decide cases based on personal or policy preferences".

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