***Live Updates*** Senators Question Brett Kavanaugh


Senators will question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday a day after Democrats and left-wing agitators repeatedly interrupted Tuesday’s hearings. Senators will get 30 minutes to question Kavanaugh in the first round and another 20 minutes in the second round.

Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates. All times eastern.

Live Updates of Day 3 here.

10:07 PM: Tillis reserves the rest of his time instead of yielding back. He says he is proud that he gets the honor of being the Senator for the second straight day who took up the least amount of time. Committee reconvenes tomorrow at 9:30 AM for 20-minute rounds.

9:50 PM: Tillis now questioning Kavanaugh and he says he hopes to shorten his remarks so Kavanaugh will get some sleep. He says it’s unfair for Senators to ask “incendiary” questions without giving Kavanaugh a chance to answer. Addressing the Kozinski questions, Tillis points out Obama nominated former Kozinski clerks (Paul Watford). Says there is a “double standard.”

9:42 PM: Harris now moves to voting rights and Shelby. She asks if Kavanaugh is aware that the North Carolina legislature and other states passed new “voting restrictions” that disproportionately impacts minorities after Shelby. Kavanaugh is not against the idea of “preclearance” but says Congress needs to adjust the Section 5 formula. Kavanaugh doesn’t answer a “hypothetical” when asked if he thinks Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional.

9:36 PM: Harris asks about abortion, and Kavanaugh says he will not give a thumbs up or a thumbs down on precedent (as Kagan said) and will not comment on potential cases that will come before him like the other eight Justices on the Supreme Court. She now asks if he can think of any laws that gives the government power to make laws about the male body.

9:29 PM: Harris asks if he has ever heard of the term “racial spoils system.” She wants to know what the term “racial spoils system” means to Kavanaugh. She claims the term is a “loaded term” used by “white supremacists.”

9:25 PM: Harris keeps asking Kavanaugh if he has ever had a discussion about Mueller’s investigation. Harris asks whether he has spoken to anyone other than fellow judges about Mueller’s investigation. Harris again asks if he has spoken about the Mueller investigation at that law firm. Kavanaugh says he needs a list of lawyers who work there. Harris says Kavanaugh is not denying it. She moves on to Charlottesville and wants to know if there was “blame on both sides.” Kavanaugh says he needs to stay out of current events.

9:22 PM: On cue, another agitator interrupts. “Be a hero and vote no,” the agitator screams as she is escorted out.

9:19 PM: Harris asks Kavanaugh if he has ever had a conversation about the Mueller investigation with anyone at the law firm of President Trump’s personal lawyer. Kavanaugh says he doesn’t know everyone who works at the law firm.

“Be sure about your answer,” Harris warns

8:55 PM: Kennedy and Kavanaugh now discussing textualism and originalism re: Heller. Kennedy points out that so many people want to come to America because of the country’s judicial system. He now asks about whether cameras should be allowed in the courtroom. Kavanaugh seems to be hinting that having cameras for oral arguments could turn it into a circus and viewers getting the wrong impression of where Justices stand on issues/cases. He seems more open about allowing cameras in when decisions are announced.

Kennedy asks Kavanaugh about how Twitter can censor people from California (talks about U.S. constitution vs. state constitutions), but Kavanaugh invokes the Ginsburg Standard because that’s a case that can be in the pipeline soon.

8:45 PM: Lee says witnesses need to be treated with respect and Booker can’t cross examine witnesses about a document and not let him see the document. “We wouldn’t do that in a courtroom,” he says, adding that the rules don’t allow this. Booker says system is “rigged.”

8:38 PM: Kavanaugh finally gets to respond. Kavanaugh notes that he mentioned that the “long march” to racial equality is not over. He mentions that he noted that a black NHL player got racist comments online after he scored a goal. (He may be referring to former Washington Capitals player Joel Ward) Kavanaugh notes that when he heard there was a problem with minority law clerk hiring, he went to the Yale Black Students Association with outreach. He cold-called them and left his contact information and helped minority students get clerkships.

8:29 PM: Booker–trying to fit two hours worth of lectures on all things affirmative action, systemic racism, police brutality, Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, and anything else dealing with race–talking extremely fast and now talking about voter ID laws and “disparate impact” on minorities and poor people. Booker asks Kavanaugh if he knows that the poll tax in South Carolina was $1. He says a 92-year-old man from the “greatest generation” had to spend $30 to get an ID and says $1 a century ago was equivalent to $30 today. Booker now talking about structural barriers that disenfranchise African-American and poor people. Booker says Kavanaugh’s answers don’t provide him comfort. Booker says even though he is a “prisoner of hope…. we have a long ways to go” on race relations.

8:23 PM: Booker trying to hit every race topic. He now is on racial profiling after 9/11. Tillis wants Booker to give Kavanaugh the emails he is quoting before grilling him on past emails that Kavanaugh doesn’t have copies of while he’s getting barraged. Kavanaugh says it seems like he rejected the concept but Booker still won’t give him the email so Kavanaugh can answer his question.

8:21 PM: Booker asks Kavanaugh about “naked racial set asides” and affirmative action. Booker–like social justice warriors cheering him and college ethnic dorms and organizations on–believes in equality of result more than equality of opportunity.

8:16 PM: Booker now shifting debate to affirmation action. He asks about affirmative action cases like Bakke and Fisher and whether he feels they were rightfully decided.

8:08 PM: Booker asks Kavanaugh about remarks from 20 years ago in which Kavanaugh said he felt that the court in ten years will view all Americans as one race. Kavanaugh says that was an “aspirational” remark and was based on “hope.”

Booker claims America was not making progress on race relations in 1999. He cites sentencing disparities and other injustices throughout society. Booker asks Kavanaugh questions about “racial entitlement” vs. “racial justice.” He asks if he agrees with Scalia that it is “never permissible” for the government to use race to remediate past discrimination and achieve “justice.”

Kavanaugh says he approaches these questions with the recognition of two things: 1) history of the country and 2) the real world today.

Booker keeps asking Kavanaugh about his “personal opinion” about whether having a “diverse student body” is a “compelling government interest.”

7:42 PM: Senate will resume after a 25-minute break. Booker will question Kavanaugh when the hearing resumes.

7:35 PM: Kavanaugh discusses a case in which a pro se client argued that a supervisor used the “N-word” and the question was whether the utterance of that word created a hostile work environment. As Kavanaugh discussed earlier, he ruled that it did. He says the original sin of the Constitution was the toleration of slavery and says there is “still work to be done” after racial discrimination, slavery, and oppression. Good timing on these questions because Booker will be the next questioner. Crapo says Kavanaugh’s record is “strong and deep” re: women’s rights and against racial discrimination.

7:25 PM: Friendly questioning by Crapo–he notes the difference between special counsel and the independent counsel statute. Establishes pattern that Kavanaugh is well within the “mainstream” based on his opinions from the D.C. Circuit.

7:05 PM: Hirono claims there is a pattern to Kavanaugh’s many dissents and that is he basically doesn’t favor “regular people.” Kavanaugh says one of his most important dissents was for a criminal defendant because jury was not instructed about mens rea… Hirono says there are exceptions to “patterns.”

6:50 PM: Hirono spends a considerable amount of time grilling Kavanaugh about an op-ed he wrote asking whether Hawaiians were Indians…Calls Kavanaugh’s views “very offensive.”

6:40 PM: Hirono now begins her questioning and brings up sexual harassment. She asks Kavanaugh if he has sexually harassed women or has ever entered into a settlement because of sexual harassment accusations. Now, as predicted, Hirono brings up Kozinski and his “notorious” behavior that went on for more than 30 years. She says his behavior was an “open secret” and his resignation shut down a federal investigation into his misconduct. Hirono grills Kavanaugh on whether he received vulgar emails from Kozinski and whether he heard allegations of anything that could be considered sexual harassment. Kavanaugh says no. Kavanaugh says he would have reported Kozinski had he heard anything about him/sexual harassment. Hirono also asks Kavanaugh if he knew about accusations of domestic abuse against disgraced ex-White House establishment GOP aide Rob Porter before he recommended him for staff secretary. Kavanaugh says no and disputes the premise that he recommended Porter for the job.

Dems’ Hail Mary attempt:

6:25 PM: Flake reads Trump’s tweet about Sessions and Hunter/Collins. He asks Kavanaugh if a president should direct agency officials to carry out directives for purely political purposes. Kavanaugh says judges should not comment on latest political controversy and he wants to maintain the strict independence of the judiciary… so he will avoid commenting on current events.

6:20 PM: Flake wonders what limits are there to prevent a president from centralizing executive power and using it for his personal/political purpose in a not-so-suble reference to Trump. He wants to know about constraints. Kavanaugh mentions the appropriations power, Senate confirmation power. Kavanaugh mentions “ultimate remedies” for how judges, members of Congress, and presidents can be removed. He says nobody is “guaranteed a permanent time” because of the “ultimate checks” in the constitutional system in addition to statutes that go beyond the Constitution. He mentions statutes that regulate war powers and operations of government.

6:10 PM: Flake now begins his questioning. Asking about his judicial heroes. Kavanaugh talks about his mom, Justice Kennedy, who encouraged him to go into teaching, Scalia, Rehnquist (praises collegiality), Justice Jackson, Thurgood Marshall (effusive praise for Marshall).

5:50 PM: Blumenthal accuses Kavanaugh of using the Garza case to get on Trump’s short list with “code words” like “abortion on demand.” When asked about Roe, Kavanaugh again invokes the Ginsburg Standard. Blumenthal starts hammering Kavanaugh on so-called “assault weapons” and “common use” like Feinstein. He says he is “deeply troubled” by Kavanaugh’s views on guns.

5:37 PM: Blumenthal makes it immediately about Trump. Says he wants to talk about the “elephant in the room”–the “un-indicted co-conspirator” who nominated Kavanaugh. He wants Kavanaugh to recuse himself if any case regarding Trump comes before him. Kavanaugh says he will not make any commitments. Blumenthal says the country is in “unchartered territory.”

“I’m going to take your answer as a no. You will not commit to recusing yourself,” Blumenthal says, adding that he is “troubled” and disturbed.

Blumenthal now going over the facts of the Garza case–illegal immigrant teenager not entitled to taxpayer-funded abortion.

5:15 PM: Sasse points out again that a Congress is responsible for punting responsibilities to the executive branch. Speaks out, like he did yesterday, about the intense polarization of the courts being a product of the country’s failed politics. Sasse doesn’t like that Kavanaugh’s nomination is being framed in terms of the “swing seat” on the court. Kavanaugh says he is writing his opinions for “multiple audiences.” He wants the losing side to respect his opinion, that he understands the real-world consequences and grappled with the law. He writes for the parties impact. Casual person and/or lawyer who picks up the opinion. Students so they can learn the law. Scholars contributing to the body of law.

4:50 PM: Sasse says he wouldn’t be able to vote for Kavanaugh if, like the agitators have said, Kavanaugh actually believed presidents can do whatever they want. Sasse asks a hypothetical. A president from the “Purple Party” gets elected in ten years and decides he doesn’t want a motorcade. He drives himself and kills someone in a drunk driving accident. Is the president immune from civil/criminal liability? Kavanaugh says no.

4:37 PM: Coons says there is a “legitimate cause for concern” re: his views on presidential power. Coons says Trump could have chosen Kavanaugh to protect himself. He asks if he believes a president can fire a prosecutor investigating him. Kavanaugh says that is a case that could come before him in the future and doesn’t answer the hypothetical. Coons now brings up Watergate and the independent counsel statute and whether he thinks it’s a “constitutional travesty.” Kavanaugh says the old independent counsel statute is distinct from special counsel. He keeps pressing Kavanaugh on whether he believes the special counsel can be fired at will or just for cause. Coons also keeps hammering Kavanaugh on the “unitary executive theory.” They spar about whether Kavanaugh took a constitutional position on the White House investigations  issues.

Grassley points out that the independent counsel statute in Morrison was not renewed and even Eric Holder said the law was “too flawed to be renewed.”

4:10 PM: Kavanaugh said his loyalty is to the Constitution.

???: “Abortion saved my child’s life…”


4:00 PM: Kavanaugh says first amendment “bedrock” of liberty. Kavanaugh, on religious liberty–he cites Article VI and says the framers understood the importance of protecting conscience. More crazy agitators interrupt. Kavanaugh mentions how people are not free to practice their religion in the public square in places like China. He says being able to participate in the public square is a part of the American tradition.

3:50 PM: Cruz asks what Kavanaugh’s definition of a judicial activist is. Kavanaugh says someone who allows “personal or policy preferences” to “override the best interpretation of the law.” He says it could go in either direction–upholding or striking down statutes. When asked about the separation of powers, Kavanaugh says it’s important because it preserves individual liberty. He points out that late Justice Antonin Scalia would always say that the Soviet Union’s Constitution had a Bill of Rights but was useless without true separation of powers. Now on to federalism. Kavanaugh says that federalism matters because of individual liberty and allows for laboratories of democracy. Also points out the importance of being governed by the “government that is closest to you on a day-to-day basis.” Cruz and Kavanaugh discussing importance ninth and 10th Amendments…. Cruz’s wheelhouse.

3:45 PM: Cruz starts off by thanking the Capitol Police for their “tremendous” work to allow the hearings to take place as agitator after agitator disrupts. Cruz now talking about the “overheated rhetoric” from the protesters and his Dem. colleagues. He says he has taken a look at Kavanaugh’s record compared to Garland’s, and he found that they have voted together 93 percent of the time. Kavanaugh says Garland is a “great Chief Judge” and they work well together.

3:30 PM:

3:13 PM: Klobuchar questioning Kavanaugh and goes straight to documents. Asks if he would have objections to the documents being released. Kavanaugh doesn’t take a position. “That’s a decision for the executive branch,” he says. Kavanaugh says he was not taking a “constitutional position” when asked about his Minnesota Law Review article about why presidents should not be subjected to investigations while in office. When asked about impeachable offenses, Kavanaugh says that’s a question for the House and the Senate. When asked pre-existing conditions/Obamacare and whether the president can choose not to implement it, Kavanaugh declines to comment on the pending Texas case. Transitioning to agencies, Klobuchar asks if the Social Security Administration’s structure is unconstitutional because it is headed by one person like the CFPD, which Kavanaugh said was unconstitutional. Kavanaugh says the CFPD is not accountable to Congress or the president. They discuss campaign finance (Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United), net neutrality (Kavanaugh bound by precedent), and anti-trust issues.

2:45 PM : Lee and Kavanaugh have a discussion about textualism, originalism, and original intent. Kavanaugh and Lee then discuss the threshold for delegation and how much the legislative branch can delegate to the executive. Kavanaugh cites Federalist 78 (independent role of judiciary), 69 (presidency not a monarchy), 10 (Madison on factions), 37 and 39, 51 (“men were angels”) when Lee asks for his favorites.

2:30 PM: Mike Lee now questioning Kavanaugh. He asks if anyone from the Federalist Society contacted him after Kennedy announced he would be stepping down. Kavanaugh replies: “no.” Lee points out Kavanaugh was not on the first two list of judges Trump released during the election (left-wing groups accused groups like the Federalist Society of handpicking the judges on those lists). Kavanaugh, in response to Lee’s question, says there is no aisle in the Supreme Court “literally or figuratively” dividing liberal and conservative Justices. Lee now turning to separation of powers.

2:28 PM: 42 agitators already:

2:20 PM: Whitehouse trying his best to accuse right-wing legal groups of using plaintiffs as props and even losing cases in courts to advance their causes. Kavanaugh points out that groups from across the spectrum look for ideal plaintiffs to advance their issues as more agitators interrupt repeatedly.

1:56 PM: Whitehouse now questioning Kavanaugh and promptly asks him if he can still give no assurances that he “would uphold a statute requiring companies to cover pre-existing conditions.” Kavanaugh says his respect for precedent and judicial independence prevents him from answering this hypothetical. Whitehouse now moving on to executive privilege. Kavanaugh says executive privilege, asserted by the president, is subject to judicial review. Whitehouse now grilling Kavanaugh about the Federalist Society and trying to make the Federalist Society a “boogeyman.” He brings out a chart showing “right-wing donors” to the Federalist Society who will favor “corporate” interests. Kavanaugh previously said Trump–not the Federalist Society–nominated him.

1:55 PM: Kavanaugh listing the numerous reasons he believes the “inspirational” Brown decision was the greatest moment in Supreme Court history.

1:40 PM: Cornyn giving Kavanaugh another opportunity to use his ruling in Hamdan to establish that he is a fair judge. “Equal justice under law,” Kavanaugh says and adds that even the most unpopular defendant like Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard is entitled to equal justice under the law. Cornyn says this answers the question about whether he would apply the law equally to everybody who comes to his court.

1:22 PM: Cornyn says today’s hearing is much more “dignified.” He notes Kavanaugh, along with Scott Clement and Ted Olson, helped him prepare for a Supreme Court oral argument involving for a school-prayer case that he lost 5-4. Kavanaugh cites cases like Trinity Liberty re: cases favoring religious liberty. Cornyn now discussing the role and origins of precedent and deciding cases on a a “case-by-case basis” with Kavanaugh. More shrieking protesters.

1:12 PM: When asked what was the “dirtiest, hardest” job he has ever worked, Kavanaugh says it was construction work when he was a teenager. He also says he started a lawn business in 8th grade to get cash. Durbin says his was working for four summers in a slaughterhouse. And then he segues to talking about immigrants, many of whom are illegal, doing “miserable” jobs at slaughterhouses. Now questioning him about Agri Processing v. NRLB and his decision to side with the processing plant. Durbin accuses Kavanaugh of not being a “textualist” re: the National Labor Relations Act. Kavanaugh says he had to follow Supreme Court precedent re: a company had to deal with a union that had illegal immigrants. Kavanaugh says he had to follow the Sure-Tan precedent and says he is “proud” of his careful ruling in the case.

12:58 PM: Durbin accusing Kavanaugh of lying about his role in crafting the Bush administration’s torture policy before asking him about the Garza case about the illegal immigrant who wanted an abortion. Kavanaugh says he was not making policy but deciding whether the policy was consistent with Supreme Court precedent. He argues with Durbin about whether he was adding requirements and says waiting for the illegal immigrant to have a sponsor before the abortion was not an “undue burden.”

12:48 PM: Hearing resumes, with Durbin immediately asking about White House documents. Durbin argues that “we’re being asked to give you special treatment” when it comes to documents that were “routinely provided to other judicial nominees.”

12:13 PM: Graham asks Kavanaugh how he’d like to be remembered. Kavanaugh: “Good dad. Good judge. Good husband. Good on. Good friend.” He says the pillars of his life are being a judge, teacher, coaching, volunteering, and being a dad and son and husband… and being a friend.

12:11 PM: After asking Kavanaugh where he was on 9/11, Graham asks if there is a difference between the law of armed conflict and basic criminal law. Kavanaugh says he understands the differences between the two. Graham now asking about “enemy combatants”and says though constitutional rights follow Americans, they do not have a constitutional right to collaborate with the enemy.

12:05 PM: As agitators again interrupt, Graham: “I just wish we could have a hearing where the nominee’s kids could show up. Is that asking too much? What kind of country have we become?”

Graham says Leahy voted for Scalia even though he didn’t agree with his judicial philosophy and points out Strom Thurmond did not agree with Ginsburg’s judicial philosophy. He points out that President Obama nominated judges like Kagan and Sotomayor who agreed with his judicial philosophy and says Democrats should not have been surprised that Trump nominated a conservative judge.

Graham says Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination at 9:20 PM. He says by 9:23, Schumer had announced his opposition. By 9:25, Harris said she would not vote for him. Elizabeth Warren then said she was against Kavanaugh. Names Sanders, Pelosi and other Democrats.

11:45 AM: Graham’s turn (he made it to the hearing on time today) to question Kavanaugh. He quotes Leahy’s own words re: Ginsburg Standard. He asks Kavanaugh if he helped create or give legal advice about the “terrorist surveillance program.” Kavanaugh says he did not. Graham says in other times, someone like Kavanaugh would get 90 votes and he wants Kavanaugh’s daughters to know that the mayhem yesterday was unique to these times. He then gives Kavanaugh a chance to address the father of a Parkland survivor and others about how he decides cases. He again says he is aware of the impact decisions have in the real world. He then talks about serving homeless people meals in D.C. and tutoring–same things he mentioned in his introductory remarks.

“We’re all God’s children,” he says. “We’re all equal.”

He says his service impacts his judging because it allows him to stand in the shoes of others.

Kavanaugh points out he wrote a separate opinion about how the single use of the N-word constituted a hostile work environment. He mentions Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in the flag-burning case (Johnson) when Graham asks him if he ever made a ruling that upset him personally.

Absolutely nothing re: race good enough for the left:

11:42 AM: Leahy asks Kavanaugh about “self pardons,” and Kavanaugh says he will not answer hypothetical questions. Leahy then asks if he thinks Trump should be able to pardon someone if they do not testify against him. Kavanaugh again says he won’t answer hypotheticals.

11:25 AM: Leahy using most of his time asking Kavanaugh about a stolen email of his that he may have received (from Republican operative Miranda) while he was a White House staffer. He says he can’t ask some questions he wants because some of the documents are confidential. Leahy plays a video of Kavanaugh telling him at a previous hearing that he found out about wiretaps from a New York Times article, and Grassley says playing a video at a confirmation hearing is “highly irregular.” Leahy asks if Kavanaugh raised any questions about “warrantless surveillance” while he was at the Bush White House. Kavanaugh says every day for Bush was Sept. 12 and there were so many things going on at the time.

11:10 AM: Leahy implying that Kavanaugh was not truthful in his previous testimony to Congress re: torture. Hatch already allowed Kavanaugh to explain himself. Leahy already salty and curmudgeonly just minutes into his allotted time.

11:15 AM:

10:55 AM: Hatch now asking questions about Judge Alex Kozinski (former Ninth Circuit Judge). Says left playing the “guilt by association” game. vKavanaugh says no woman should be subject to sexual harassment and news about Kozinski’s history of harassment was a “gut punch.” He says he was not on Kozinski’s email list that Kozinski he used to send “inappropriate material.” He says sexual misconduct is a huge national problem and mentions coaches, priests, doctors, judiciary.

10:50: Kavanaugh tells Hatch about his hiring of women/minority law clerks. Says he read Linda Greenhouse’s article about the lack of women law clerks. Says he asked why there was a discrepancy and did something about it.

10:43 AM: Hatch questioning Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh says his loyalty is to the constitution when asked if he could be independent if a case involving Trump comes before him on the Supreme Court. He again cites Hamdan as a case where he ruled against the Bush Administration. Hatch now asking about what role had he had in developing the Bush administration torture policies and says Democrats want “every scrap of paper” to try to find something on Kavanaugh. Hatch says Kavanaugh has a “strong reputation” in the legal community for honesty and wants to give Kavanaugh an opportunity to answer whether he misled the committee in 2006 about Bush administration/torture. He says he was not “read into” those programs and told the whole truth.

10:30 AM: Looks like there won’t be any more loony left-wing agitators!

10:35 AM: Citing the Ginsburg Standard, Kavanaugh says he can’t give Feinstein an answer when she asks whether a sitting president should be required to respond to a subpoena. He says he will not answer hypothetical questions like the other eight Justices on the Supreme Court did not.

10:28 AM: Kavanaugh says the quote Feinstein put up about the Second Amendment may not have been accurate because there were brackets around some of his words. Feinstein now questioning Kavanaugh about his Minnesota Law Review article and puts up a new Kavanaugh quote: “If the President were the sole subject of a criminal investigation, I would say no one should be investigating that.” Kavanaugh says he has not taken a “constitutional position.” Feinstein asks if U.S. v. Nixon was wrongly decided. Kavanaugh says Nixon is one of the most significant Supreme Court cases along with Marbury,  Brown, and Youngstown. He says he thinks Brown was the Supreme Court’s greatest moment.

10:21 AM: Feinstein asks Kavanaugh about Roe, wants to know what he means by “settled law.” Kavanaugh, mentioning stare decisis, says Roe has been “reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years.” Mentions Planed Parenthood vs. Casey and says it becomes “precedent on precedent” because it applied the stare decisis factors and decided to reaffirm it. Feinstein says she doesn’t want to go back to “death tolls in this country” and says women should control their own reproductive systems. Kavanaugh says he doesn’t live in a “bubble” and understands the jurisprudence/real-world impact of abortion cases.

10:10 AM: Feinstein says she wants to talk to him about guns and abortion. She immediately says her office wrote the “assault weapons legislation.” Feinstein asks Kavanaugh about so-called “assault weapons” and “common use.” She says she’s very interested in his views on “assault weapons” after mentioning kids being “mowed down” in school shootings. Feinstein is asking Kavanaugh about his dissent in Heller when he as on the D.C. Circuit. Feinstein says she thinks she and Kavanaugh are on “totally different wavelengths” re: “common use.” Kavanaugh points out that most handguns are semi-automatic and cites Scalia’s opinion and says he was strongly following the Supreme Court’s precedent in Heller/McDonald. Kavanaugh refers to the last few pages of his Heller dissent:

This is a case where emotions run high on both sides of the policy issue because of the vital public safety interests at stake. As one who was born here, grew up in this community in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and has lived and worked in this area almost all of his life, I am acutely aware of the gun, drug, and gang violence that has plagued all of us. As a citizen, I certainly share the goal of Police Chief Cathy Lanier to reduce and hopefully eliminate the senseless violence that has persisted for too long and harmed so many. And I greatly respect the motivation behind the D.C. gun laws at issue in this case. So my view on how to analyze the constitutional question here under the relevant Supreme Court precedents is not to say that I think certain gun registration laws or laws regulating semi-automatic guns are necessarily a bad idea as a matter of policy. If our job were to decree what we think is the best policy, I would carefully consider the issues through that different lens and might well look favorably upon certain regulations of this kind. But our task is to apply the Constitution and the precedents of the Supreme Court, regardless of whether the result is one we agree with as a matter of first principles or policy. See Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 420-21 (1989) (Kennedy, J., concurring) (“The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions we do not like. We make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result.”). A lower-court judge has a special obligation, moreover, to strictly and faithfully follow the lead of the “one supreme Court” established by our Constitution, regardless of whether the judge agrees or disagrees with the precedent.

D.C. believes that its law will help it fight violent crime. Few government responsibilities are more significant. That said, the Supreme Court has long made clear that the Constitution disables the government from employing certain means to prevent, deter, or detect violent crime. See, e.g., Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961); Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966); City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32 (2000); Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004); Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008); District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). In the words of the Supreme Court, the courts must enforce those constitutional rights even when they have “controversial public safety implications.” McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3045 (2010) (controlling opinion of Alito, J.).

As I read the relevant Supreme Court precedents, the D.C. ban on semi-automatic rifles and the D.C. gun registration requirement are unconstitutional and may not be enforced. We should reverse the judgment of the District Court and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion. I respectfully dissent.

10:02 AM: Kavanaugh says his personal beliefs are not relevant when deciding cases when Grassley asked him for examples where he followed precedent even when it went counter to his personal beliefs. He says precedent is about judicial independence and ensuring predictability. “Foundational to our Constitution,” he says, adding that it is also about “stability.”

9:59 AM: Dems getting ready to get their chance to grill Kavanaugh:

Hillary Clinton weighs in on Kavanaugh. But as Graham said yesterday, you can’t lose elections and pick judges.

9:57 AM: In response to Grassley’s question, Kavanaugh says he has ruled against the the George W. Bush administration that appointed him in administrative law cases, some Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases.

9:51 AM: Kavanaugh cites the Korematsu dissent and Justice Robert Jackson’s concurrence in Youngstown as examples of judicial independence as more loony agitators start interrupting. He is now talking about Hamdan v. Rumsfeld as more agitators interrupt. He says he ruled for Hamdan, who was involved in the 9/11 attacks, because “we don’t make decisions based on who people are” and “make decisions based on the law.”

Kavanaugh: “If you walk into my courtroom and have the better legal argument, you will win.”

9:49 AM: Grassley says some of Kavanaugh’s critics have wrongly criticized his views on presidential authority and asks him about what judicial independence means to him as it applies to ruling against the executive branch.

“No one is above the law in our constitutional system,” Kavanaugh says, citing Federalist 69.

9:43 AM: A protester in a wheelchair reportedly got escorted out and claimed they were not working with the Democrats…. right…

9:40 AM: Grassley now starts the questioning. He asks what makes a judge a good one and how he goes about deciding cases. Kavanaugh says it’s “independence” and points to Article III of the Constitution. He says that takes some “backbone” and cites Youngstown Steel and Brown v. Board of Education, United States v. Nixon. Kavanaugh also says “respect for precedent.” He also saying being a good judge means paying attention to words that are written–Constitution, statutes. He now talks about “human qualities” as well and says he is joining a “team of nine” if he is confirmed and says he does not make decisions by himself and learns from other judges when deciding cases. He says he wants the losing party to say “Kavanaugh gave me a fair shake.” Kavanaugh also points out that decisions impact real people and is just not about theory (Klobuchar mentioned something similar yesterday).

9:38 AM: Grassley says Senators will get through their first round of questioning today. Here’s hoping Senators don’t waste time with rambling questions and asked pointed, relevant questions that get to the point and yield the rest of their time instead of yapping for the sake of yapping on camera.

9:35 AM: Kavanaugh takes his seat as Grassley gavels in the hearing. He points out that Democrats interrupted the hearing 63 times as agitators again start screaming and trying to interrupt the hearing as Grassley says that today will be different.

9:25 AM: Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) vowed on Tuesday afternoon to run the committee on Wednesday and not let the Committee run him. “Either you run the committee or it runs you,” Grassley said, signaling that today’s hearings will be much more orderly than Tuesday’s.


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