Today at 9:30 AM, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will face day 2 of his confirmation hearings with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Maybe today we will actually hear Kavanaugh speak! The Democrats spent almost the first two hours trying to convince Chairman Chuck Grassley to adjourn the hearings over the lack of documents.

Then the Senators had their opening statements, which took all day, and protesters interrupted a lot of the proceedings.

Today each senator will have 30 minutes to question Kavanaugh.

As I mentioned yesterday, Fortune magazine highlighted a few questions Kavanaugh will likely have to answer:

Kavanaugh is likely to face questions about abortion, executive power, and sexual harassment. Given the Republicans’ narrow margin in the Senate, assuring the party’s two pro-choice members of his commitment to protect the abortion rights of Roe v. Wade will be essential to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. That pair, Sens. Susan Collins (R–Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska), could tip the 50-49 Republican majority against Kavanaugh.

The judge’s statements about protecting the executive from independent counsel prosecutors will likewise be scrutinized in light of the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its possible ramifications for Trump. Kavanaugh is on record questioning the ruling that required Nixon to turn over his White House recordings, and he’s talked of overturning protections for independent counsels.

Allegiance to the President?

Kavanaugh promises to remain independent from the president who nominated him and rule in accordance with the law and the Constitution. He also said that “the first quality of a good judge in our constitutional system in independence…not being swayed or public pressure.”

Kavanaugh also said that no one is above the law, including the executive branch.

Feinstein asked him about what changed his views on investigating sitting presidents. He said it was 9/11.

Feinstein wants to know if Kavanaugh believes that a sitting president should answer a subpoena. It sounds like he doesn’t want to answer a hypothetical question.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein brings up guns right away. She pushes him on “common use” of those scary AR-15 type guns in the Heller case and insists that they’re not common use. Kavanaugh disagrees and said that most people don’t realize that most handguns are semi-automatic.

Feinstein asked how he can reconcile his position with hundreds of school shootings. He said he follows the 2nd Amendment.

Roe vs. Wade

Feinstein then brings up Roe vs. Wade and wants to know if Kavanaugh agrees that women’s control over her reproductive rights impacts her economic position.

Kavanaugh also says that the case is settled law and has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years. Basically the exchange is this:

To sum it up: Kavanaugh will follow the law, which is Roe vs. Wade.

Graham wants to know if the justices can just get together over lunch and overturn RvW. Of course not!


Sen. Orrin Hatch brings up how people have bashed Kavanaugh over his supposed hatred of women, but reminds them that many have said that he’s a big supporter of women in law. The majority of his clerks are female.

Kavanaugh said 84 women signed a letter from the Bush WH to support him. He also noticed a NYT article that said there were only 7 women clerks in SCOTUS and he it gave him thought. He then made sure that he told law professors that he wanted to see a broad spectrum of people, including women. His first year on the bench he made sure he included as many women clerks as possible and that women weren’t excluded.

Kavanaugh promised he will continue his practice if he sits on SCOTUS.

Judge Kozinski

Hatch tackled this subject before the Democrats could so he can respond to the “guilt by association” accusations. Kavanaugh clerked for Kozinski who resigned last year after allegations of misconduct.

Kavanaugh said he did not know and that no woman should be subjected to harassment in the workplace. He also wants women to have better tools to report on workplace harrasment.

Chevron Doctrine

Hatch brought up the Chevron doctrine. Kavanaugh stated that “the accumulation of power in one body would be the definition of tyranny.” He also says that he is “not a skeptic of regulation at all,” but is “skeptic of unauthorized regulation” and of illegal regulation.

You can read about the Chevron Deference here. It’s when SCOTUS “set forth a legal test as to when the court should defer to the agency’s answer or interpretation, holding that such judicial deference is appropriate where the agency’s answer was was not unreasonable, so long as the Congress had not spoken directly to the precise issue at question.”

Old Emails Case

Sen. Patrick Leahy brought up an old stolen emails case. Thed Bush WH somehow got questions that the Democrats planned to ask Bush judicial nominees. It led to the resignation of the then-Senate Majority Leader’s chief of staff Manuel Miranda.

Graham asked him more straight forward questions. Kavanaugh said that he had no idea he had possession of stolen material.


Leahy’s other subject is warrantless surveillance. He played a video where Kavanaugh talked about a terrorist surveillance program.

Kavanaugh has said before that he was not read into that program.

Graham provides more coherent questions. Kavanaugh said that he was not involved or even helped write the program.


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