Brett Kavanaugh to face Democrats' grilling in confirmation hearing

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Kavanaugh sat patiently for almost seven hours, listening to Republican and Democrats speak for and against his joining the court before he finally got his chance to address the panel.

Kavanaugh, now a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will also praise his colleague Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee.

"If I say something and the case comes before me five years from now I'll feel morally bound by what I said here".

"I have ruled sometimes for the prosecution and sometimes for criminal defendants, sometimes for workers and sometimes for businesses, sometimes for environmentalists and sometimes for coal miners".

In his opening statement, Kavanaugh said he did not make judicial decisions based on his personal policy preferences. "I am a pro-law judge".

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the committee, noted that President Trump campaigned on a pledge of shifting the high court to the right. "This was the agreed approach", said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin.

Grassley sought to turn the attention to Kavanaugh's qualifications, calling him "one of the most qualified nominees - if not the most qualified nominee - I have seen".

The paper, issued just as Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee began, carries an urgent call to action.

During Wednesday's sessions, Kavanaugh will face a grilling by Senate lawmakers with 30-minute rounds of questioning, followed by 2o minute-long rounds. But that was at the end of a marathon day marked by rancorous exchanges between Democrats and Republicans, including dire Democratic fears that he would be President Donald Trump's advocate on the high court. Republicans are expected to try to paint the nominee as an independent thinker and a principled jurist. "Judge Kavanaugh was not responsible for the Parkland school shooting that killed my daughter", he said, placing blame instead on local law enforcement and school officials.

They pointed to endorsements from fellow judges and Kavanaugh's legal associates, liberals and conservatives, including a number of women.

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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 US presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's 2016 campaign. They said the hearings should be delayed because they haven't had time to review the documents and not all documents have been released.

Perhaps the key issue for Kavanaugh will be his loyalty to President Trump and whether or not he believes a sitting president can be indicted in light of the ongoing Russian Federation probe which so far has led to two guilty convictions for former Trump campaign associates.

The key precedent Kavanaugh was alluding to here was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe and was co-authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Kavanaugh clerked.

Kavanaugh's opponents say he would also undermine environmental protections and immigrant rights.

Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley couldn't finish his first sentence before California Democrat Kamala Harris interrupted to demand a hearing delay.

Grassley is planning to talk broadly about the role of a judge and Kavanaugh's qualifications during his opening remarks, a source familiar with the remarks told CNN.

One of the concerns by most Democrats is the fact that the Senate has not received 93% of documents pertaining to Kavanaugh's time served in the White House, and 96% of these documents have not been made public.

The protest came just as Democratic senators were staging their own opposition to Kavanaugh.

When Grassley pressed on, speaking over Harris, her objection was reinforced by interventions from other Democrats, in a choreographed show of dissent from Democrats under fierce pressure from their grassroots voters to disrupt Kavanaugh's likely confirmation.