- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2018

Senate Democrats said Friday they’ll probe Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about his opinion on abortion, sexual harassment and gun control during next week’s confirmation hearing, but the most consequential topic will center on executive authority.

Democrats say the extent of presidential powers is a topic ripe for quizzing, arguing a justice to the nation’s highest court must be willing to rein in President Trump.

They say their concern is based off of Judge Kavanaugh’s previous comments criticizing Supreme Court precedent that found an independent counsel legal and another case ruling a sitting president must comply with a grand jury subpoena.

“He does not believe a sitting president should be investigated or prosecuted. In other words the president is above the law,” said the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat, echoed Ms. Feinstein’s concerns, writing a letter to Judge Kavanaugh ahead of his hearing which begins Tuesday.



The senator said he found the nominee’s answers during their private meeting insufficient regarding his issue with Judge Kavanaugh’s position on executive branch authority.

“Your previous statements give me serious pause: an expansive view of presidential power held by a Supreme Court Justice occupying Justice Kennedy’s seat would undoubtedly mark a significant shift from our historical understandings and Supreme Court jurisprudence recognizing constitutional limits on the executive,” Mr. Coons wrote in the letter.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said he will ask Judge Kavanaugh, as he does all judicial nominees, his thoughts on whether Supreme Court precedent desegregating schools and upholding abortion rights were accurately decided.

And in the wake of the Me Too movement, Sen. Mazie Hinoro, Hawaii Democrat, who asks every single one of the president’s judicial nominees whether they’ve ever been accused of sexual misconduct, said Judge Kavanaugh will get the same treatment.

The nominee clerked for former 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Korzinski, who was forced to retire last year after facing several allegations of sexual assault and abusive behavior with law clerks.

“I ask every nominee, as you know, those questions. But we’ll have additional- if not me somebody else- regarding his relationship to Judge Kozinski,” Ms. Hirono told reporters earlier this week.

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