Cory Booker Risks Senate Seat With Confidential Document in Kavanaugh Hearing

Kavanaugh says he understands the 'real world' importance of Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling

Brett Kavanaugh

In one from 2003, when Kavanaugh was working in the White House of George W. Bush, he objects to language that Roe v. Wade is "settled law".

He added: "The public has a right to access documents about a Supreme Court nominee's views on issues that are profoundly important, such as race and the law". But two years later in his own confirmation hearing to be a federal judge, Kavanaugh said this of Appeals Court Judge William H. Pryor Jr: "I was not involved in handling his nomination". The confidential documents that have been released so far at Democrats' request are either innocuous or directly relevant to how Kavanaugh would think through cases as a Supreme Court justice.

Some liberals have expressed concern Kavanaugh could be a rubber stamp for Trump and protect him from lawsuits and investigations.

Kavanaugh pushed back on that assumption and suggested the sentence be deleted. "I'm an independent judge".

Booker's office later released the document (read it here) in which Kavanaugh was critical of some Department of Transportation affirmative action policies. Several Democrats said in response, "bring it on".

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Later, Kavanaugh said he would like to know the specific person Harris was thinking of. But under questioning by Durbin on the scope of presidential power, Kavanaugh underscored judicial authority. Kamala Harris pressed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a pointed line of questioning asking if he had ever spoken to anyone at the law firm of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz about any aspects of special counsel Robert Muller's Russian Federation investigation.

"The fundamental problem in this case is that these DOT regulations use a lot of legalisms and disguises to mask what is a naked racial set-aside", Kavanaugh wrote in 2001, adding that he expected the court's conservative justices to "realize as much in short order and rule accordingly". John Cornyn, R-Texas, who called them "irresponsible and outrageous".

"How can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm?" she asked.

He also repeated his refusal to comment on whether he would recuse himself if a case involving the Mueller investigation or other issues relating to Trump's conduct came before him.

That may worry some pro-lifers, but the website LifeNews observed that Kavanaugh did not say that there is a "right" to abortion.

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"It's just now that Roe is 45 years old", said a frustrated Sen. "So, I guess, the answer to that is yes", the Supreme Court nominee said.

After some saber-rattling cross-talk from both sides, and an offer by Republican Mike Lee to work out individual requests for document release, Grassley abruptly began the scheduled second-day questioning of Kavanaugh, and protests from the audience broke out - all as though the exchanges over civil disobedience and expulsion from the Senate had not happened. He was going over a draft opinion stating that "it is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land", but he took exception to the phrase. They were released by the committee minutes later.

Judiciary committee chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, interrupted Booker during this tangent.

Booker said that he was "knowingly violating the rules" of the Senate and releasing documents that were only made available to senators this week, just before the hearings started. But Trump's fellow Republicans maintain a narrow Senate majority and there are no signs of defections in their ranks, indicating Kavanaugh likely will be confirmed.Trump picked Kavanaugh, 53, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement in June.

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