Partisan shouting marks first day of Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing

Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court pick who could tilt American jurisprudence to the right for a generation,...

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 11:29 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 11:29 AM

Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court pick who could tilt American jurisprudence to the right for a generation, vowed to be neutral and impartial, shrugging off bitter Democratic demands for him to stall his own confirmation hearing until questions about his past are fully answered.

President Donald Trump's second pick for the nation's highest court sat silently for much of the day as Democrats staged an aggressive, coordinated effort to slow his apparent march to confirmation -- in exchanges that highlighted several potential 2020 presidential contenders, including California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

Brett Kavanaugh

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Political Figures - US

Politics

Referees and umpires

Sports and recreation

US federal court system

US federal government

US Supreme Court

Chuck Grassley

Donald Trump

US Congress

US Senate

White House

Political organizations

Protests and demonstrations

US Democratic Party

US political parties

Anthony Kennedy

Confirmation hearings

Political parties

In addition, Capitol Police said they made 70 arrests Tuesday for protests during the hearing and in other parts of Capitol Hill.

After seven hours of political sparring mostly aimed by senators at their constituencies outside the hearing room, Kavanaugh finally got the chance to speak, and delivered emotional tributes to members of his family and his friends -- but resolved none of the issues that Democrats say should derail his nomination.

In a comment that seemed to fly in the face of a day of political estrangement, he warned that the Supreme Court "must never be viewed as a partisan institution" and argued that "a good judge must be an umpire -- a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy."

Democrats angrily accused the White House and Republicans of hiding key details about Kavanaugh's time as a Bush-era White House lawyer by refusing to publicly release tens of thousands of documents. They also decried a dump of 42,000 documents on Monday night, hours before the hearing.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, put the issue directly to Kavanaugh: "For the sake of this nation, for the sanctity of the Constitution that we both honor, step up, ask this meeting, this gathering to suspend until all the documents of your public career are there for the American people to see."

Kavanaugh, Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, is poised to succeed swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, the conservative-centrist who joined with liberals in some key decisions to uphold abortion rights. Kennedy was also the decisive vote for same-sex marriage and university affirmative action.

Trump, watching the hearings from the White House, lashed out at Democrats for attacking Kavanaugh, whose arrival on the Supreme Court bench would represent a historic triumph for the President.

"The Brett Kavanaugh hearings for the future Justice of the Supreme Court are truly a display of how mean, angry, and despicable the other side is. They will say anything, and are only....looking to inflict pain and embarrassment to one of the most highly renowned jurists to ever appear before Congress. So sad to see!" Trump tweeted.

His hardball language contrasted with the optimistic cadence of the closing remarks from Kavanaugh, who likely faces an even more contentious day when senators begin to ply him with questions on Wednesday.

"I live on the sunny side of the mountain," Kavanaugh said.

Democrats open with a flurry

The hearing opened with an hour of squabbling between Democrats and Republican Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, that was punctuated by screaming protests from the public gallery as anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators were bundled out by Capitol Police.

The theatrics reflect the impotence of Democrats who lack the votes in the Senate to block Kavanaugh's confirmation. It is not even certain all Democrats will stick together since endangered liberal senators up for re-election in red states are under intense pressure to back the confirmation.

The clashes in the hearing were part of a long awaited political spectacle. But consistent with the uproar of the Trump era, Kavanaugh was upstaged even before he delivered his opening statement, as stunning revelations began to emerge of a new book by veteran reporter Bob Woodward that portrays Trump as a grave threat to national security and raging and incompetent.

"What are we trying to hide, why are we rushing?" Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked as the hearing began.

But Grassley denied Democratic attempts to get a vote in the committee on whether to adjourn the hearing, and complaints that the late arrival of the documents and other controversies flew in the face of committee rules and basic fairness.

"This is something I have never gone through before in 15 Supreme Court nominations. I was interrupted before I got a chance to say the agenda for today," said Grassley.

Republican Sen John Cornyn of Texas complained the hearing was being overtaken by "mob rule" His colleague Orrin Hatch from Utah demanded that a "loudmouth" protester who was drowning out his remarks should be removed.

Kavanaugh watched the arguments in the committee with a bemused look on his face, with his pen poised over a white legal pad.

When the hearing turned from controversy over process to substance, Durbin thrust home the meat of the Democratic case.

"You are the nominee of President Donald John Trump. This is a President who has shown us consistently that he is contemptuous of the rule of law," Durbin said. "It's that President who has decided you are his man."

A ''umpire' judge'

Kavanaugh's use of the umpire analogy to refer to the duties of a judge recalled Chief Justice John Roberts' confirmation hearing back in 2005, when he said his "job is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat."

He also praised Kennedy, who announced his retirement earlier this summer.

"As Justice Kennedy showed us, a judge must be independent, not swayed by public pressure. Our independent Judiciary is the crown jewel of our Constitutional republic" Kavanaugh said.

"If confirmed to the Supreme Court, I would be part of a Team of Nine, committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States. I would always strive to be a team player on the Team of Nine."

Kavanaugh, currently a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, also praised his colleague Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee, as a "superb chief judge."

The hearing will continue Wednesday morning with questions from senators.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295357

Reported Deaths: 5305
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion40796844
Lake25864448
Allen17025289
Elkhart16389209
St. Joseph16125217
Hamilton12225163
Vanderburgh9218112
Tippecanoe807627
Porter770176
Johnson5971161
Hendricks5719154
Vigo563274
Monroe519846
Clark486774
Delaware4721103
Madison4651119
Kosciusko437339
LaPorte436792
Howard321375
Warrick309072
Floyd301177
Bartholomew296262
Wayne292261
Cass291231
Marshall283642
Grant254147
Noble244246
Hancock238949
Henry234136
Boone231754
Dubois229230
Dearborn204629
Jackson200033
Morgan196043
Gibson171622
Knox170715
Clinton170420
Shelby170453
Lawrence169246
DeKalb168428
Adams160019
Miami150414
Daviess149143
Wabash148118
Fayette141233
Steuben139713
LaGrange135127
Jasper134911
Harrison134624
Montgomery127926
Whitley127410
Ripley121414
Decatur119842
Posey116613
Putnam115626
Wells115427
Huntington115210
White115221
Randolph114619
Clay111821
Jefferson110314
Scott97918
Greene97553
Jay93012
Starke87021
Sullivan85515
Perry80521
Spencer7957
Jennings79114
Fulton78717
Fountain7257
Washington6966
Carroll65313
Orange64828
Franklin63525
Owen5676
Vermillion5662
Newton53412
Parke5296
Tipton52826
Blackford50011
Rush5006
Pike49618
Pulaski36410
Martin3425
Brown3153
Benton3101
Crawford2711
Union2551
Switzerland2453
Warren2272
Ohio2227
Unassigned0265

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 351419

Reported Deaths: 5996
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin48389665
Cuyahoga34096734
Hamilton28674371
Montgomery19082225
Butler14138144
Lucas13446406
Summit12431309
Stark8122197
Warren770375
Mahoning6772299
Lake625466
Lorain590297
Clermont541946
Delaware521435
Licking506275
Fairfield505163
Trumbull4969144
Greene489662
Clark486664
Marion451451
Allen446384
Wood4243107
Medina413354
Miami398565
Pickaway387948
Columbiana328496
Portage323171
Wayne303593
Tuscarawas299557
Richland293929
Mercer281237
Ross234559
Hancock225336
Muskingum223610
Auglaize218925
Putnam218649
Darke208058
Erie205565
Ashtabula204753
Geauga189451
Scioto186713
Lawrence181336
Athens17954
Union17928
Shelby176715
Seneca165018
Belmont151529
Madison151018
Sandusky144427
Preble143821
Huron139218
Holmes137039
Defiance131121
Knox118818
Logan118313
Fulton117225
Ottawa114730
Crawford114216
Washington112427
Clinton100314
Williams9938
Jefferson9894
Ashland98322
Highland96317
Henry94422
Brown9324
Champaign8935
Jackson87312
Fayette86617
Van Wert8596
Morrow8312
Hardin82518
Guernsey79213
Coshocton78813
Perry73312
Pike7081
Adams70611
Wyandot68916
Gallia68113
Paulding61710
Hocking58511
Noble56121
Carroll41610
Meigs36312
Monroe29921
Morgan2342
Vinton2075
Harrison1823
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
30° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 28°
Huntington
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Decatur
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Van Wert
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Snow/Rain Showers Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events