Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., came to the third day of hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh armed with documents that he said would show that the longtime Republican staffer knowingly received stolen emails nearly two decades ago.
The 53-year-old appellate judge stuck to a well-rehearsed script throughout his testimony, providing only glimpses of his judicial stances while avoiding any serious mistakes that might jeopardize his confirmation. Republicans hope to confirm the judge in time for the first day of court's new term, October 1.
On Friday, lawmakers heard from more than two dozen witnesses on both sides of the nomination fight.
He emphasized his belief that Roe v. Wade was "an important precedent of the Supreme Court" that has "been reaffirmed many times". "And make no mistake about it".
Kavanaugh said it would be improper for him to weigh in on matters that could come before the court.
Minutes later, three more women - the activists were almost all women - were removed as they shouted "Vote no on Kavanaugh!" and "My daughter has the right to choose!" They talked about his intelligence and open-mindedness, calling him "thoughtful", "humble", "wonderfully warm" and a "fair-minded and independent jurist".
In that opinion piece, titled "A Liberal's Case for Brett Kavanaugh", Akhil Reed Amar said Trump promised to nominate "someone with impeccable credentials, great intellect, unbiased judgment, and deep reverence for the laws and Constitution of the United States". "You've probably been told you have the votes to be confirmed so you don't have to care, but I care".
"In my view, the White House should not be involved in the SG's formulation of a position in the first instance, but rather only in approving or disapproving what the SG proposes", Kavanaugh wrote in a 2001 email. "If you torpedo Kavanaugh you'll likely end up with someone worse".
The document battle stemmed from Kavanaugh's unusually long paper trail following his years in the Bush White House.
Under questioning by senators, Kavanaugh, the conservative federal appeals court judge selected by Trump for a lifetime post on the high court, also stressed the authority of the judiciary to check the power of the presidency. Kavanaugh would have denied her immediate access to an abortion, even after she received permission from a Texas judge.
An email disclosed Thursday suggested Kavanaugh once indicated the abortion case was not settled law, though Kavanaugh denied in the hearing that he had been expressing his personal views.
The tone in the email from 2003 contrasted with his responses to questions on Wednesday, when he stressed how hard it is to overturn precedents like Roe.
Four days of confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ended Friday with Utah's Republican senators ripping Democrats' "theatrics" and predicting the judge will soon become a justice.
The document was partially redacted.
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Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey asked Kavanaugh whether he would recuse himself from a case involving the special counsel Robert Mueller or the Russian Federation probe if the nation's high court takes up the matter.
On Tuesday, amid partisan sniping and grandstanding, Kavanaugh went on to call Kennedy "a model of civility and collegiality" who "fiercely defended the independence of the judiciary".
Much of the debate among senators has focused more on the disclosure of documents than on Kavanaugh's record. Republicans have declined to seek the papers, and instead have gathered documents from his work as White House counsel to Bush. Several said they would also release confidential documents, and said they would face the consequences along with Mr. Booker.