Ka­vanaugh hear­ing ends; con­fir­ma­tion ap­pears likely

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - DAILY LOCAL NEWS - By Jes­sica Gresko

Af­ter two marathon days ques­tion­ing Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh, se­na­tors con­cluded his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing Fri­day by lis­ten­ing to oth­ers talk about him — friends stress­ing his fair­ness and warmth but op­po­nents warn­ing he’d roll back abor­tion rights and shield Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

por­tray­ing Ka­vanaugh as a judge who might vote to un­der­cut or over­turn the 1973 Roe v. Wade de­ci­sion es­tab­lish­ing a con­sti­tu­tional right to abor­tion. Se­nate Democrats, in the mi­nor­ity 51-49, hope to ap­peal to two Repub­li­can se­na­tors who sup­port abor­tion rights to break from their party and vote against Ka­vanaugh.

On Fri­day, New York Univer­sity law pro­fes­sor Melissa Mur­ray told law­mak­ers that Ka­vanaugh would pro­vide the “nec­es­sary fifth vote that would ut­terly evis­cer­ate” Roe v. Wade.

On the Repub­li­can side, wit­nesses tes­ti­fy­ing in sup­port of Ka­vanaugh in­cluded long­time friends and for­mer law clerks. They talked about his in­tel­li­gence and open-mind­ed­ness, call­ing him “thought­ful,” “hum­ble,” “won­der­fully warm” and a “fair-minded and in­de­pen­dent ju­rist.” A num­ber praised his con­certed ef­forts to hire as law clerks both mi­nori­ties and women.

Se­nate Democrats had worked into the night Thurs­day on Ka­vanaugh’s fi­nal day of ques­tion­ing in a last, fe­ro­cious at­tempt to paint him as a foe of abor­tion rights and a likely de­fender of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

But the 53-year-old ap­pel­late judge stuck to a well­re­hearsed script through­out his tes­ti­mony, pro­vid­ing only glimpses of his ju­di­cial stances while avoid­ing any se­ri­ous mis­takes that might jeop­ar­dize his con­fir­ma­tion.

On Fri­day, Demo­cratic wit­nesses ex­pressed con­cern about Ka­vanaugh’s record on a range of is­sues in­clud­ing af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion, the rights of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, ac­cess to birth con­trol and abor­tion. Demo­cratic wit­nesses also in­cluded a stu­dent who sur­vived the school shoot­ing in Park­land, Florida, and Rochelle Garza, the le­gal guardian for a preg­nant im­mi­grant teenager whose quest for an abor­tion Ka­vanaugh would have de­layed last year.

Yale law school pro­fes­sor Akhil Reed Amar, a lib­eral tes­ti­fy­ing in sup­port of Ka­vanaugh, had a mes­sage for Demo­cratic se­na­tors: “Don’t be mad. He’s smart. Be care­ful what you wish for. Our party con­trols nei­ther the White House nor the Se­nate. If you tor­pedo Ka­vanaugh you’ll likely end up with some­one worse.”

AP writ­ers Dar­lene Su­perville in Fargo, North Dakota, and Mark Sher­man, Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Frek­ing in Wash­ing­ton con-

ALEX BRAN­DON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Supreme Court nom­i­nee, Brett Ka­vanaugh readies his pa­pers be­fore he tes­ti­fies be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton, Thurs­day for the third day of his con­fir­ma­tion to re­place re­tired Jus­tice Anthony Kennedy.

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