Kavanaugh pledges to be 'team player' on Supreme Court

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images North America

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images North America

As the unpopular pick of an unpopular president for a closely divided Supreme Court with no room for error in a closely divided Senate, Brett Kavanaugh kept things simple and noncontroversial in his opening statement to the Judiciary Committee today.

They are also up in arms that some 42,000 documents were released to the committee just on the eve of the hearing.

"[Sen.] John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) asked "is this a concerted strategy, is this a tactic of Senate Democrats to coordinate with the protesters" - the people screaming and yelling and disrupting the hearing".

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in by committee chairman Sen. "I don't decide cases based on personal or policy preferences". There has been speculation Booker and Harris might consider 2020 presidential runs.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the "impact of overturning Roe is much broader than a woman's right to choose".

Grassley ignored the Democrats' request to halt the hearing, saying it was "out of order" and accused the Democrats of obstruction.

They also pushed for the release of 100,000 more pages they say are being withheld, particularly those related to Kavanaugh's time in George W. Bush's legal office and as White House staff secretary.

Kavanaugh, now a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will also praise his colleague Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee.

Kennedy was a solid conservative but sided with the court's liberals on some issues, including abortion and gay rights.

Before Kavanaugh spoke Tuesday evening, the hearing was repeatedly interrupted by protesters.

Strong Democratic opposition to Trump's nominee reflects the political stakes for both parties in advance of the November elections, Robert Mueller's investigation of Trump's 2016 campaign and the potentially pivotal role Kavanaugh could play in moving the court to the right. The only Supreme Court Justices he mentioned by name were the man he seeks to succeed, Anthony Kennedy (largely hated by conservative ideologues) and Justice Elena Kagan in her capacity as his employer at Harvard Law School.

"All he had to do is extend his hand back and say, 'I'm sorry for your loss, tell me about your daughter.' That's it!" he added, before claiming Kavanaugh may have spoken to security about him. If all goes as Republicans plan, Kavanaugh could be on the bench when the court begins its new term on October 1.

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.

Kavanaugh spent four years working for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated former Democratic President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Republicans hold a one-vote majority in the Senate.

Going into Tuesday's hearing, White House aides believe their nominee's task of introducing himself to the country hasn't been made more hard in the weeks leading up to this hearing. "These lawsuits are going to end up in front of a Justice Kavanaugh".

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