Fierce document dispute grips Trump Supreme Court pick's hearing


New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker injected chaos into Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing Thursday by releasing confidential Kavanaugh emails with the backing of fellow Democrats in possible violation of Senate rules, calling it an act of "civil disobedience" and drawing condemnation from the Republicans on the committee. (Kavanaugh must be approved by the committee before his nomination can be sent to the full Senate for final confirmation.) Booker took issue with how and when some of those documents were released, including a set released after having been vetted by William Burck, an attorney for former president George W. Bush.

Kavanaugh, an appeals court judge nominated for the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, answered senators' questions on high-profile issues ranging from abortion to gun control to presidential power.

Democratic Senator Cory Booker called the process used by the Republican-led committee to decide which documents to make public "a bit of sham", a characterization rejected by the panel's chairman, Chuck Grassley. John Cornyn, his Republican counterpart, responded with a dig at Booker, saying that "running for president is no excuse" for leaking information.

In the 2002 email, Kavanaugh said that although he favored race-neutral policies in policing, there was an "interim question of what to do before a truly effective and comprehensive race-neutral system is developed and implemented".

"Senator, I said that it's settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles 'stare decisis, ' " referring to the legal principle of not overturning precedents.

Booker said that he was "knowingly violating the rules" of the Senate and releasing documents that were only made available to senators this week, just before the hearings started. Kavanaugh released a large number of pages to the committee, but he did so the night before the hearing began, giving the senators nowhere near enough time to review all the documents. It was marked "committee confidential".

The actor was protesting during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's hearing.

"No one is above the law in our constitutional system", he said.

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.

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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh prepares to testify during the third day of his confirmation September 6, 2018.

Leahy continued his line of questioning, referring to an email between Miranda and Kavanaugh from 2003 in which Miranda forwarded a draft letter from Leahy and other judiciary Democrats to then Majority Leader Sen.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee each had 30 minutes to ask Kavanaugh questions. Protesters have added to the challenges for Kavanaugh, repeatedly interrupting proceedings.

Pressured by Democrats with Trump on their minds during Wednesday's grueling session, the judge insisted that he fully embraced the importance of judicial independence.

Judge Kavanaugh's hearing will resume Wednesday.

"I haven't had any inappropriate conversations about that investigation with anyone". "How many times are you going to tell us this?" he asked. An analysis from The Washington Post found that this could mean Kavanaugh believes existing law is too restrictive for the office of the president.

Day two of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings were once again riddled with theatrics.

"The fundamental problem in this case is that these DOT regulations use a lot of legalisms and disguises to mask what is a naked racial set-aside", Kavanaugh wrote in 2001, adding that he expected the court's conservative justices to "realize as much in short order and rule accordingly".

Kavanaugh said Thursday that he was not discussing his views, but rather "what legal scholars might say".