Friday, September 7, 2018
Senate Democrats mounted a last, ferocious attempt Thursday to paint Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a foe of abortion rights and a likely defender of President Donald Trump if he makes it to the high court. But their chances of blocking Trump’s nominee seemed to fade away by the end of a second marathon day of testimony in his confirmation hearing.
Questioning of the 53-year-old appellate judge wound down without him revealing much about his judicial stances or making any serious mistakes that might jeopardize his confirmation. In what almost seemed like a celebration, Kavanaugh’s two daughters returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room for the final hours of testimony, accompanied by teammates on Catholic school basketball teams their father has coached.
The hearing pivoted during the day to Roe v. Wade, the high court’s landmark abortion case. The Democrats’ best hope of stopping Kavanaugh – who could swing the court further to the right for decades – would be branding him as a justice who might vote to overturn the ruling, attracting the votes of two Republican senators who support abortion rights.
A newly disclosed email suggested he once indicated the abortion case was not settled law, though Kavanaugh denied in the hearing that he had been expressing his personal views on the issue.
The tone in the email from 2003 contrasted with his responses to questions Wednesday when he stressed how difficult it is to overturn precedents such as Roe. In the email, Kavanaugh was reviewing a potential op-ed article in support of two judicial nominees while he was working at the George W. Bush White House. The document had been held by the committee as confidential but was made public Thursday.