Friday marked the end of a weeklong confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Over the course of the hearing, the Senate floor repeatedly dissolved into partisan disputes, with Kavanaugh himself sometimes forgotten amid arguments from both sides of the aisle.
Democrats are concerned about his opinions on issues such as race relations, presidential power, health care and abortion, with many believing that he may try to rally the other conservative judges on the Court to overturn landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade. In a 2003 email in which he was commenting on the draft of a colleague’s OP/ED letter, Kavanagh said:
“I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.”
This prompted some to wonder about Kavanaugh’s stance on the ruling. But when asked potentially inflammatory questions, Kavanaugh remained neutral and did not answer many questions directly.
Democrats attempted to stall the hearing, mostly citing how rushed the process had been. They argued they did not have the time to review 42,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s time working for President George W. Bush’s administration, which were released the night before the hearing began, according to the Washington Post.
Arguments also arose over certain documents that had been labeled “committee confidential,” which means Senators had access to them, but the public did not. Democrats were fighting to have the documents released, with Senator Cory Booker claiming he had emails from Kavanaugh regarding his stance on racial profiling. He said he would release those emails in what he termed an act of “civil disobedience,” even if doing so were to violate Senate rules and be grounds for his expulsion.
“This is about the closest I’ll ever come in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” Booker said.
However, when he said this, he did not know the emails were part of a new batch of documents that had been released early that morning. Booker, who is potentially a candidate for the 2020 presidential election, received criticism for dramatizing the situation.
The final day of the hearing concluded with witnesses testifying both in favor of and against Kavanaugh. Ultimately, Republicans control the Senate 51-49, so Kavanaugh is expected to be confirmed. Republicans hope to confirm him before October, when the Court begins its next term.