Tillis delivers opening statement at Supreme Court Hearing

Kavanaugh said it would compromise the independence of the court to signal how he would respond to cases involving Trump, who nominated him in July to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In two days of hearings on the Judiciary committee the Democrats have not laid a single glove on Brett Kavanaugh, There's been a lot of screaming; there's been a lot of protesting; there's been a lot of anger, and it's really a reflection of the incredible rage and fury we're seeing on the far-Left; and you're right: by all appearances these protests are closely coordinated with the Democratic senators.

Meanwhile, Republicans remain hopeful they'll have him confirmed before the Supreme Court convenes on October 1.

In total, the Democrats spoke out of turn and interrupted the hearing 63 times and complained about the withholding of documents 129 times, according to a tally kept by White House spokesperson Raj Shah.

He cited historic cases, including the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that desegregated schools and the USA v. Nixon decision that compelled the president to turn over the Watergate tapes — a ruling Kavanaugh had previously questioned.

Leahy spent his remaining time asking Kavanaugh about his knowledge at the time of the warrantless wiretapping of US citizens during the Bush administration's "War on Terror" following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

"A good judge must be an umpire - a neutral and impartial arbiter who favours no litigant or policy", he said in the excerpts released by the White House.

But Democrats raised objections from the moment Chairman Chuck Grassley gaveled the committee to order. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called for members to take a deep breath and treat the process with respect. Sasse ripped into his Congressional colleagues for not enacting legislation related to sensitive issues, leaving the Supreme Court to clean up the mess and draw the ire of Americans who don't understand that justices are not political figures. The GOP members of the Judiciary Committee used a wall of empty boxes to dramatize the amount of documents. Kavanaugh said the teen could have been able to "consult with" the sponsor as she faced her decision.

"I've heard it said that I'm a skeptic of regulation", he told Hatch. "I was not read into that program". Kavanaugh said he reversed the conviction of a man in a military commissions case who was convicted for an offense that wasn't an identified crime at the time it happened.

A demonstrator shouts as Judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives prior to a hearing before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.

Supporters of abortion rights fear Mr Kavanaugh could provide the decisive fifth vote on the nine-seat court to overturn the 1973 ruling. Kavanaugh was a law clerk for Kozinski in the early 1990s and remained friendly with him.

"Some of your opponents have suggested that you must have known about these allegations". He also declined to give an opinion on the Republicans' action on the documents, responding, "It is not for me to say". Instead, he said he opposes unlawful regulation.

Kavanaugh likened Roe v. Wade to another controversial, landmark Supreme Court decision, the Miranda ruling about the rights of criminal suspects. Journalist Bob Woodward's new book about Trump says Kavanaugh recommended Porter for the job. "I'm not a skeptic of regulation at all. I'm a skeptic of unauthorized regulation, of illegal regulation, outside the bounds of what Congress has passed", he said.

Although not calling to get rid of Chevron deference entirely, the judge has expressed some skepticism about the doctrine, under which courts typically defer to an agency's judgment when a law is ambiguous on an issue.

"We don't rewrite those laws", he said, adding the executive branch also should not rewrite law.

  • Tracy Klein