Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Democrat releases 'confidential' emails as Kavanaugh hearing heats up

Democrat releases 'confidential' emails as Kavanaugh hearing heats up

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.

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.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh responds to questions during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Under questioning by Republicans, Kavanaugh stressed the importance of judicial independence, "not being swayed by political or public pressure".

Booker later challenged Cornyn to not be a "tempest in a tea pot" and "bring the charges" against him. Though he hasn't said yet if he'll run for president in 2020, he's expected to be one of the top democratic contenders if he does. "This is what happens in a free country when people can stand up and speak and not be jailed, imprisoned, tortured and killed because of it", Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said.

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"I have no agenda in any direction", he said. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, to explain why he disagreed with the rest of his colleagues on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that the Federal Communications Commission was within its authority to create the rules, Kavanaugh said he was simply following legal precedent and wasn't looking to strip the agency of its power. "So if there is going to be some retribution against the senator from New Jersey, count me in", Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) released another email chain from Kavanaugh in 2002, with him debating whether Native Hawaiians should have the same protection as Indian tribes.

In a striking political gambit, Booker said he was willing to break Senate rules and resort to civil disobedience by releasing a document that is only available to the committee about racial profiling. Booker did so despite threats from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) to expel him from the body. Kavanaugh said maintaining judicial independence "requires me to avoid commenting on current events".

Booker's fellow Democrats expressed support.

The tone is different from Kavanaugh's remarks during the confirmation hearings stressing how hard it is to overturn precedent like Roe.

"The point there is in the inferior court point", Kavanaugh wrote, responding to a draft op-ed that was circulated for edits between lawmakers and White House staff.

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The 53-year-old Kavanaugh, no stranger to Washington politics, sat stone-faced throughout.

The email shows Mr Kavanaugh considering an opinion piece which states "it is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land", referring to the landmark ruling that legalised abortion in the US.

Kavanaugh said Thursday that he has not discussed or given any hints about his views of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It had been held by the committee as confidential. They railed against the unusual vetting process by Republicans that failed to include documents from three years Kavanaugh worked in the Bush administration, and 100,000 more pages withheld by the Trump White House.

Kavanaugh said he has a "completely open mind" on the subpoena question, but like other Supreme Court nominees in recent years would not answer queries about how he might decide any cases that he could face if he is confirmed by the Senate and becomes the court's 114th justice in its two-century history.

"Under our system of government, the Executive Branch is subject to the law, subject to the court system, and that's an important part of Federalist 69, it's an important part of the constitutional structure, in general so too we, as judges, are separate from the Congress".

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