Trump's Supreme Court nominee in hot seat
as Democrats seek answers
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[September 05, 2018]
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President
Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, will face a
marathon of hostile questioning by Democrats on Wednesday, as his Senate
confirmation hearing rolls into its second day.
Kavanaugh could be in the hot seat for up to 12 hours, with Democrats
showing on the hearing's first day that they were prepared to probe his
suitability for the lifetime appointment on multiple fronts.
They plan to press Kavanaugh on abortion, gun rights and his ability to
be independent of Trump, among other issues.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh would move the court, already majority
conservative, further to the right. Senate Democrats have vowed a fierce
fight. But with Republicans narrowly in control of the Senate, and no
sign of any of them voting against the nomination, it remains likely
that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Trump picked Kavanaugh, 53, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who
announced his retirement on June 27.
Tuesday's opening session was dominated by Democrats demanding in vain
that the hearing be delayed so they could review documents from
Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary to former Republican President
George W. Bush from 2003 to 2006. The job involved managing paper flow
from advisers to Bush. [L2N1VQ0DS]
The hearing was also repeatedly disrupted by protesters, with 61 people
removed from the room.
Republicans have released some, but not all, of the existing documents
concerning Kavanaugh's two prior years as a lawyer in Bush's White House
They say Democrats have more than enough documents to assess Kavanaugh's
record, including his 12 years of judicial opinions as a judge on the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
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Fred Guttenberg (L), the father of Jamie Guttenberg, a victim of the
February 14, 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, reaches out to
try to shake hands with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett
Kavanaugh during his U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation
hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018.
The hearing gives Democrats a platform to make their case against
Kavanaugh ahead of November's congressional elections in which they
are seeking to take back control of Congress from Republicans.
Liberals are concerned Kavanaugh could provide a decisive fifth vote
on the nine-justice court to overturn or weaken the landmark 1973
Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Kavanaugh also is likely to be questioned about his views on
investigating sitting presidents and the probe by Special Counsel
Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S.
presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and
Trump's 2016 campaign. Trump, who denies any collusion took place,
has called the Mueller probe a 'witch hunt."
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Peter
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