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Kavanaugh Judiciary Hearing Day 3

By: Jenny Lea

September 6, 2018

Once again, the hearing has had to go back to the background documents. (R) Senator Grassley informed them that the documents are all there at the Judiciary Committee website. Pages that are currently considered confidential can be requested to be viewed by the Senators. Once their request is made, they will be reviewed for any redactions and then released, and they have been available to make those requests since at least August 10th. (As per Grassley, most redactions include people’s phone numbers, social security numbers, names that are not involved with the hearing, etc.) Grassley let everyone know it is their own fault if they did not request any specific paperwork. However, Democrats continued to whine, and were not willing to take any responsibility for not asking for any specific paperwork.

(D) Booker was still unhappy about the “process”. Thus far, over 450,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s background has been released. Way more than previous Supreme Court nominees. But, an unhappy Booker threatened to break the rules and release confidential emails to the public, and (D)Whitehouse added his dislike of the hearing. After many minutes of going on and on about background documents, Booker started acting as if he never threatened to release public documents. Then, (R) Cornyn read Booker the rule of Senators releasing confidential information that includes committees, and how they can lose their Senate seat. Booker, Whitehouse and other Democrats told Cornyn to bring it on, prosecute them. So, Democrats don’t have a problem with breaking not only rules in general, but their own Senate rules they swore to maintain. (R) Mike Lee, reminded them, that all they need to do is ask for the specific documents.

(R) Thom Tillis made an offer: That every Senator should immediately release all of the emails concerning this nomination for SCOTUS to the public. Without any redaction. You guessed it, crickets were chirping. Ultimately, Tillis suggested that Kavanaugh AND all those judging him should be investigated. No one seemed to jump up for that idea. Democrats quickly asked if he was done making suggestions.

(D)Diane Feinstein started by asking him about Roe vs. Wade again. She wants to know how Kavanaugh feels about the results of Roe vs. Wade. However, Kavanaugh said earlier in the hearing that he will not give his personal views; because, his personal views have nothing to do with being a Judge. A Judge must be objective. He did say that the case has been reinforced numerous times, similar to his response on day two. Feinstein moved on to ask about torturing terrorists during interrogations. Kavanaugh recited the law and court proceedings that restricts torture of prisoners. Feinstein once again tried to get Kavanaugh to admit “how he feels” and in this case, Trump saying he could do something worse than waterboarding terrorists. Kavanaugh, said “he feels” that everyone should follow the law. She switched to George W. Bush making a similar threat after 9/11 and Kavanaugh made sure to emphasize that Bush was willing to do what he was legally able to do. Feinstein moved on to Labor Laws, her example was a trainer that was killed by a whale at SeaWorld. SeaWorld was held accountable for endangering an employee’s life, but Kavanaugh had disagreed with the outcome. Kavanaugh responded by pretty much saying that the incident was not specifically covered by any Labor Laws or Precedent. He gave an example of someone in a circus walking a high wire. There is no law that forces a circus to keep a safety net underneath the high wire, and there was no law preventing a trainer from having physical contact with the whale during a show. Therefore, the employee was legally choosing to risk their own life. Feinstein moved on to Enron. She wanted to know if Kavanaugh believes the proper group was held responsible for regulating Enron. Kavanaugh said his job at the time, was only to collect papers for (D) Joe Lieberman.

(R) Orrin Hatch started by complaining about the circus being held by the Democrats and the protestors. He then asked about Kavanaugh’s connection to the Bob Mueller case and the law firm. Kavanaugh reassured Hatch, he has had no connection with the case or the law firm and thanked Hatch for asking. Previous Democrat Senators who had asked about it, did not give Kavanaugh a chance to answer. Hatch went on to ask about Kavanaugh’s experience with the Federalist’s Society, and brought up the American Constitution Society, a Democrat group. He admitted both party lines have their own legal groups/societies. Kavanaugh, said that the Federalist’s Society helps students learn the law, they hold legal conventions, legal debates from both political sides and other legal events that help law students.

The hearing was interrupted after (D) Booker released "confidential emails" at his Twitter feed. I believe the emails he released, were the same emails (R) Mike Lee had said earlier were released after the proper steps had been taken. Booker brought up earlier, there was nothing to redact on the papers, they should be released. However, until the person checking the paper gets to the specific page, they don’t know if it needs to be redacted. Just because Booker tells them to skip to the page he wants, doesn’t mean they will stop. However, after Booker made an official request for the papers, they were released this morning, right before Booker released them on his Twitter page.

I switched to CSPAN-2 and Hatch was discussing Kavanaugh’s religion. Kavanaugh went to Catholic Schools and was raised Catholic. He assured Hatch that all people are equally American, whether they are religious or have no religion. Religions has never influenced his legal judgments.

(D) Patrick Leahy started by complaining about the missing background pages. He then continued with his interrogation he had started on day two. He brought up emails, from 20 years ago, asking Kavanaugh to interpret the emails intentions, and how he would have interpreted them back then. Leahy is trying his very best to connect Kavanaugh to the crimes committed by Manny Miranda from 20 years ago. Leahy said that some of the stolen emails were sent to Kavanaugh. The same emails were sent to ALL Republicans, Democrats and media groups, not just Kavanaugh.

(R)Lindsey Graham brought up how the committee has been similar to a circus. Then he apologized to circuses. He also brought up the whole hearing was not going to put a dim light on Kavanaugh, but on how the Senators act. He asked Kavanaugh if he had any knowledge of Manny Miranda’s intentions or did he help Miranda in any way. Kavanaugh said he knew Manny Miranda, but had no idea that Miranda intended to break the law or that he was stealing anything. Graham moved on to Roe vs. Wade, and he really tried to find a legal path that could lead to overturning Roe vs. Wade. At the end of the day, it is possible, but it is not easy. Roe vs. Wade is not the only hearing that would be involved. Graham should have known that Kavanaugh could not give him any specifics on overturning Roe vs Wade. Graham moved on to terrorists in the U.S. out of the U.S., both citizens and non-citizens. There was not a whole lot for Kavanaugh to respond to, it was more like Graham was trying to make his own point about it. I am not a big fan of Graham. He is kind of like that goofy Uncle that always shows up for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

(R) Chuck Grassley - Before ending for the half way break. Grassley explained that Burck’s legal firm was used to help release the paperwork faster. If the National Archives did it themselves, it would have taken over 8 months to go through Kavanaugh’s entire background, checking for anything that needed to be redacted. So, the legal team was brought in to assist, at the ‘recommendation’ of George W. Bush.

(D) Dick Durbin – Went on a Trump bashing spree. He then went back to Kavanaugh’s paper concerning executive power that he published in 2009, and then brought up several court cases. Ultimately, Durbin was trying to guarantee that if Trump broke the law, would Kavanaugh take the President’s side over the law. Kavanaugh assured him, the law always comes first, and his years as a Judge is proof. Durbin tried to twist it around and somehow come out with Kavanaugh letting Trump or a future President break the law. Kavanaugh quickly corrected him and once again stated the law comes first, and the Constitution must be upheld. Durbin went back to a question he had asked Kavanaugh years ago, and feels he was lied to about it, concerning detention of enemy combatants. Years ago, Kavanaugh had told Durbin he was not involved in the setting up the rules and regulations concerning enemy combatants. Since Kavanaugh’s signature was found on a few papers, Durbin believes Kavanaugh was lying to him. Several government forms have to have more than one signature. Some forms need the President’s signature and one other person within the department or in some cases a specific person within a department. Their signature does not mean they had hands on with a policy, it merely means they signed as a witness or as someone in the line of passing paperwork from one department to another.

(R)Mike Lee – He pretty much did an overview of everything the Democrats had questioned Kavinaugh about. Allowing Kavanaugh to give a more thorough response.

(D) Sheldon Whitehouse – Part of the questioning was cut off, due to other news and commentaries. But Whitehouse did try to make is sound as if Kavanaugh was special for being nominated by the President. Last time I checked, all the past Supreme Court Justices were nominated by the current President at the time. I am not sure what Whitehouse was getting at, other than creating unnecessary drama.

(R) Ted Cruz – He had Kavanaugh define a “statute”. Kavanaugh was a bit wordy, but he got it. Cruz asked him about different laws and methods of Judging. In other words, it was boring for the next five to ten minutes. He went on to ask him about a case, in Santa Fe, pertaining to prayer before a football game. The issue was not that the kids wanted to pray, but the school sponsored the prayer. Another case pertained to a school that was prohibiting religious people from participating. He believed just as someone should not be forced to participate in a religion, they should not be banned from any public location for their religious preferences. Cruz brought up the Elian Gonzalez case from 2000, about INS forcing a child from his home to send him back to Cuba. Kavanaugh helped, pro bono, defend the family.

(D) Amy Klobuchar – She asked Kavanaugh to explain the difference between “precedent” and “settled law”. Kavanaugh tried to explain to her, “precedent” is looking back to see how it was done before. “Settled Law” through time becomes a part of society. While he was talking to Klobuchar, he said Roe vs Wade was precedent to other cases. Earlier with Feinstein he had said Roe vs. Wade was settled law. At which point, she didn’t understand how Roe vs Wade could be used as a “precedent” and considered “settled law”. She moved on to ask him about his opinion post of 2009 concerning not bringing a sitting President to court. What he wrote was an opinion and not something that would be in the legal hands of the Supreme Court. It is something the Senate would have to decide to do, and the Senators can choose to follow or not follow his suggestion. She then asked about voter fraud and people voting while cases are still going through court. He pretty much said he would need more information about each specific case and what it pertains to.

(R) Ben Sasse – Asked Kavanaugh a number of legal questions. Pertaining to different court of laws, the Constitution, etc. Due to Breaking News interruptions many of his responses were partially heard. However, if he didn’t know the answers to Sasse’s legal questions, he wouldn’t have the work history or over 450,000 pages of background information.

(D) Chris Coons – Once again other news caused his questioning to be broken or fully missed.

(In the morning I am able to watch the Judicial Hearing on CSPAN-2, but after about 9:00 AM CST it switches over to the Senate. The ONLY news channel airing the Hearing somewhat uninterrupted is FOX News. However, in the afternoon FOX has to allow some commercials and a few news breaks. When that happens, I go to the Judicial Gov site and view it live there until FOX news gets back to it, or I need to utilize my computer for something else. Give me time, when the funding increases the technology will increase.)

(R) Jeff Flake – Started with asking about Kavanaugh’s family life. Kavanaugh named out all the kids from the soccer team attending the hearing and other family and friends. He then talked about a past case, where he had regretted his decision and how he did more research and re-evaluated the outcome. He then gave an example of his hardest case, which is always the case he is currently working on. His 2009 report was brought up again and he once again explained he did not believe the President should have immunity to any crimes, but if the current status of the U.S. needs the President’s full focus, Congress should choose to defer the case to a future date.

(D) Richard Blumenthal – He put an email up on a board and asked if Kavanaugh had been given that email to review yesterday. Seriously? Kavanaugh has piles of papers to go through. Odds are he didn’t memorize them all. Then he interrogated Kavanaugh on whether he has had any discussions about Mueller or the Special Counsel. Kavanaugh said no, but then asked how specific. He spoke about going to the court house and people would bring up something general, such as why the parking lot was full or the number of people outside and so on. Kavanaugh was not sure what level Blumenthal meant and Blumenthal didn't specify. After a bit, Blumenthal moved on and started interrogating him about whether he knew different people in the Mueller trial. One person he knew for years but did not discuss the Special Counsel and he did not know the other people named. Blumenthal finally moved on and started reading out some of Trump’s Tweets insulting Judge Ginsburg and tried to get Kavanaugh to comment on those Tweets. Kavanaugh said he would not reply to someone's Tweets and he highly respected all the current and past Supreme Court Justices. Blumenthal moved on to the Affordable Care Act and of course, could not ask a question without making sure to cherry pick a heart-breaking story first. Kavanaugh said in past cases he has usually taken the side of the patient over the Insurance company. However, the Blumenthal and the rest of the Democrats are not happy, unless they get a yes/no answer, and that is something that Kavanaugh was not willing to do. After this line of questioning, Grassley did ask if he had discussed, winked, had a secret handshake or anything else that would connect him to the Special Counsel Mueller case and Kavanaugh answered, No.

I am done for the day. Hopefully this helps some people. If not, oh well. Thus far I can say,” how do some of these people get re-elected?” If the voters watched the live Senate on CSPAN more often, they would think twice about electing different people. As for Kavanaugh, I understand his not wanting to instantly say Yes or No can be irritating, but at the same token, he has read and dealt with so many cases that most situations are not a simple yes or no. If it was that simple, we wouldn’t have to hire a lawyer or bring in a jury, it would be a quick yes or no. There wouldn't be page after page of different issues. But in court, every court, every trial is different, every lawyer can give a different interpretation and so on. So, why say yes or no, especially if that answer can be used against him when a future case is able to alter a simple yes/no response. Plus, when asking if he remembers talking to so and so, and comes back with he doesn't remember. I can understand how he feels. I have worked online for years and ultimately counting the people I have met in person and the people I only know online, I cannot say who I talked to or conversed with 20 years ago. Unless that person eventually became a good friend, I won't remember. I don't remember the name of everyone I went to High School with. I would need to see a photo of them at least, and maybe then I would remember them. There are high school classmates I am still friends with or knew them for so many years after graduating, I would probably remember them, but that would be it.

I also want to add an apology for any grammatical errors. Word grammar check can only do so much. Give it time, we will all be able to write like cave people and Word grammar check will rearrange it into a star-studded piece of work.