Kavanaugh defends his net neutrality dissent in Senate hearing


Democrat Sen. from California Dianne Feinstein asked nominee Kavanaugh, "Do you agree with Justice O'Connor that a woman's right to control her reproductive life impacts her ability to, quote, participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation, end quote?"

On one level, their desperation was understandable: A conservative majority could curtail Democrats' ability to use an activist court to put through policies they can't win democratically. Republican, Democrat differences. But in the three-and-a-half years that I've been chairman of the committee, every bill that has come out of the Judiciary Committee has had bipartisan support. They grilled Kavanaugh about his views on Roe vs. Wade, campaign finance reform, health care, gun rights, the extent of executive authority, and his time in the George W. Bush administration.

Senator Ben Sasse used his time to say how much he was exhausted of the theatrics and "patently absurd" criticisms that had been lobbed at Kavanaugh that he claimed were not based on truth or even anything to do with the nominee but rooted in misdirected political fervor.

Cornyn criticized Senate Democrats' "high jinks" after they invoked a rarely enforced rule to shut down Senate floor proceedings at 1:16 p.m.in protest of the confirmation hearings. Harris said she thought Kavanaugh had a name in mind but did not want to reveal it.

It devolved into farce even before Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made it into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room.

The Supreme Court nominee is set to answer questions from senators throughout the day for the first time Wednesday.

"I think all I can say, Senator, is that was my view in 1998", he told Coons.

Some two dozen protesters were escorted from the hearing room after shouting objections to Kavanaugh's nomination.

"A good judge must be an umpire, a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy", Kavanaugh said in prepared opening remarks.

The most likely outcome of this week's hearings is a vote along party lines to send Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate. Independent Sen. Angus King of ME also stopped in for part of the session.

Klobuchar noted that Kavanaugh's explanation in his dissent that the court could distinguish between a "major" and "minor" question with respect to deferring to an expert agency when there was ambiguity in the law would be a "you-know-it-when-you-see-it" standard was the reason that the other judges didn't agree with Kavanaugh. But he refused to provide direct answers to Democrats who wanted him to say whether there are limits on a president's power to issue pardons, including to himself or in exchange for a bribe.

Inside the hearing, protesters shouted out, and Democrats immediately demanded the hearing be stalled until thousands of documents from Kavanaugh's time as a Bush-era White House lawyer are reviewed.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said it would be "unseemly for the president of the United States to be picking a Supreme Court justice who could soon be effectively a juror in a case involving the president himself". The ruling was later overturned and she underwent the abortion. He likened it to another controversial, landmark Supreme Court decision, the Miranda ruling about the rights of criminal suspects. But she broke new ground on some issues - and prodded Kavanaugh on Trump's politics, too.

"I've tried to be a very collegial judge, I've tried to be civil", he said.

The confirmation hearing opened on Tuesday with a chaotic session in which Democrats complained that Republicans withheld documents concerning Kavanaugh's work in Bush's White House more than a decade ago that they said they needed to review to properly vet the nominee.

The Republicans' slim majority in the Senate was bolstered during the hearing by the announcement from Arizona that Gov. Doug Ducey was appointing Jon Kyl, the former senator, to fill the seat held by the late Sen.