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Democrats outraged over Kavanaugh documents

The Trump administration has withheld more than 100,000 pages of records from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time as a White House lawyer under President Bush ahead of Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing.

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 4:11 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 4:15 PM

When Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor testified in 2009, confirmation seemed so certain that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham famously predicted she only had to avoid a "complete meltdown."

As Judge Brett Kavanaugh takes the witness chair on Tuesday, the sense of inevitability in these partisan times is even greater. Republicans control the Senate, they are tightly managing the vetting process, and Democrats no longer have an opportunity for a filibuster to block a final vote

Yet the inevitability is strikingly paradoxical because the stakes for the nine-member Supreme Court are greater than they have been in decades. America's highest court rests on a precipice, with many rights -- those related to abortion and university affirmative action, to name just two -- teetering on a single vote.

The chance also exists that this deeply divided bench could end up resolving a dispute related to investigations involving President Donald Trump. Most significant, of course, is special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russia's intervention in the 2016 presidential campaign and any ties to Trump's campaign.

Kavanaugh, 53, would succeed Anthony Kennedy, who steadied the bench. A centrist conservative with a 30-year tenure, Kennedy fluctuated in his approach. So, the four liberals had a shot at persuading him to move left on social issues.

He cast the decisive vote to uphold abortion rights and affirmative action and, in 2015, to establish for the first time a constitutional right to gay marriage. Yet Kennedy remained with the right-wing bloc in many areas, including as he penned the 2010 Citizens United case rolling back campaign finance regulations for corporations and unions.

Based on his record over 12 years on a powerful Washington-based federal appeals court, Kavanaugh would not be so fluid. His vote would not be in play for the liberal side.

The result would be a high court less willing to protect individual rights; more willing to reject government regulations, such as those covering consumers and the environment; and ready for a hiatus on groundbreaking decisions favoring LGBT rights.

A Washington insider

A Yale law graduate with sterling credentials and deep Washington experience, Kavanaugh could have been nominated by any establishment Republican president, rather than only by the rebellious Trump. In fact, Kavanaugh's name did not appear on Trump's first or second list of high court candidates in 2016. It appeared only on Trump's third list, put out in November 2017, perhaps because of his Washington insider connections.

Kavanaugh remains closely identified with President George W. Bush, whom he served from 2001 to 2006. During his time with Bush, Kavanaugh assisted with appointments to powerful US appeals courts and three Supreme Court nominations: Chief Justice John Roberts; Associate Justice Samuel Alito; and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, whose nomination for a seat was withdrawn after Bush's fellow conservatives objected that her credentials were lacking.

Senate Republicans, taking advantage of their majority position to control the confirmation process, have blocked Democrats from seeing any of the Kavanaugh documents related to those high court nominations.

When Roberts served in the Ronald Reagan administration, he, coincidentally, also helped prepare a nominee, Sandra Day O'Connor, in 1981.

Roberts drafted answers to questions that senators were likely to ask. As he later wrote in a September 17, 1981, memo released when he was up for confirmation in 2005, "The approach was to avoid giving specific responses to any direct questions on legal issues likely to come before the court, but demonstrating in the response a firm command of the subject area and awareness of the relevant precedents and arguments."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
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