Showing posts with label Supreme Court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Supreme Court. Show all posts

January 22, 2019

Supreme Court Brings-back The Trump Ban on Transgender Soldiers


 The Supreme Court on Tuesday revived the Trump administration’s policy of barring most transgender people from serving in the military. In a brief, unsigned order, the justices temporarily stayed trial court decisions blocking the policy while litigation in the lower courts moves forward.

The vote was 5 to 4. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented.

The policy announced on Twitter by President Trump and refined by the defense secretary at the time, Jim Mattis, generally prohibits people from identifying with a gender different from their biological sex from military service. It makes exceptions for several hundred transgender people already serving openly and for those willing to serve “in their biological sex.”

Challenges to the policy have had mixed success in the lower courts. Trial judges around the nation issued injunctions blocking it, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, is expected to rule soon on whether to affirm one of them. 

On Jan. 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a third injunction, that one issued by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a federal trial judge in Washington. The appeals court said its ruling was “not a final determination on the merits.” But it handed the administration at least a provisional victory.

The Supreme Court granted stays of two other injunctions, issued by Federal District Court judges in California and Washington State, both in the Ninth Circuit.

Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco, representing the administration, had argued that the stays were needed to address a troubling phenomenon.

“It is with great reluctance that we seek such emergency relief in this court,” Mr. Francisco wrote. “Unfortunately, this case is part of a growing trend in which federal district courts, at the behest of particular plaintiffs, have issued nationwide injunctions, typically on a preliminary basis, against major policy initiatives.”

“Such injunctions previously were rare, but in recent years they have become routine,” he wrote. “In less than two years, federal courts have issued 25 of them, blocking a wide range of significant policies involving national security, national defense, immigration, and domestic issues.”
The administration had also asked the justices to immediately hear appeals, an unusual request when an appeals court has not yet ruled. The court turned down those requests.

The Supreme Court’s rules say it will review a federal trial court’s ruling before an appeals court has spoken: “only upon a showing that the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in this court.”

In a separate brief, Mr. Francisco wrote, “This case satisfies that standard.”

“It involves,” he wrote, “an issue of imperative public importance: the authority of the U.S. military to determine who may serve in the nation’s armed forces.”

He told the justices that prompt action was required to ensure that the Supreme Court could rule before its term ends in June. The alternative, he said, was to defer Supreme Court arguments in the matter to the term that starts in October, with a decision probably not coming until 2020.

But lawyers for current and prospective members of the military challenging the policy said there was no need to upend the status quo while the case proceeded.

“Transgender people have been serving openly in all branches of the United States military since June 2016, including on active duty in combat zones,” their brief said. “Transgender individuals have been permitted to enlist in the military since January 2018.”

“The government has presented no evidence that their doing so harms military readiness, effectiveness or lethality,” the brief said.

The hundreds of people grandfathered in under the new policy, the brief added, “cannot be squared with the government’s claims of urgency to eliminate all other transgender personnel.”

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.

Follow Adam Liptak on Twitter: @adamliptak.

December 21, 2018

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Has Surgery to Remove Cancerous Growths

 She is received at the court after she fell this past year and injured herself.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had cancerous growths removed from her lung today at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the Supreme Court's office of Public Information said in a statement.

Details: "Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease," the statement reads. The growths were discovered in November. Justice Ginsburg is the oldest justice on the court and has previously beaten back both colon and pancreatic cancer.

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"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy today at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung were discovered incidentally during tests performed at George Washington University hospital to diagnose and treat rib fractures sustained in a fall on November 7.

According to the thoracic surgeon, Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS, both nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant on initial pathology evaluation. Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease. Scans performed before surgery indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body.

Currently, no further treatment is planned. Justice Ginsburg is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days. Updates will be provided as they become available."


November 12, 2018

Every Time Justice Ruth Bader Coughs 60% of Americans Get The Flu "Please Be Around, Be Healthy"

 These roses reside where I live. They always come back evey spring but be careful if you touch them and not wear industrial thick gloves. I call Them 'Justiceruth' Roses
 On showing up despite undergoing cancer treatments and being presumed on the brink of death by Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning: “I also wanted them to see I was alive and well, contrary to that senator who said I’d be dead within nine months.” -In comments to CNN in 2016

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to hospital. Why did the news send many Americans into a tizzy?
On Wednesday evening, Justice Ginsburg fell in her office at the US Supreme Court and went to the hospital, where doctors discovered she had fractured three ribs. The reaction from the liberal corners of social media was an instantaneous mixture of well-wishes and barely-suppressed horror.
"#RuthBaderGinsburg DON'T YOU DARE DIE WE NEED YOU!" wrote one.
"I hereby donate all of my ribs and organs to Ruth Bader Ginsburg," wrote Lauren Duca, a columnist for Teen Vogue. 
That evening, late night television host Jimmy Kimmel introduced the "Ruth Bader Gins-bubble" on his programme, saying the 85-year-old needed to be "protected at all costs" as a Ginsburg stand-in rolled on stage encased in a gigantic plastic bubble.
Although Ginsburg returned home on Friday, anxiety surrounding the health of the oldest sitting justice will surely continue. If Ginsburg were to retire or become too ill to serve, President Donald Trump would be able to cement the court's conservative majority with the appointment of his third justice, after Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Beyond that, the outpouring of concern can be credited to the fact that for liberals, Ginsburg has become a bona fide icon. She's the subject of a new biopic On the Basis of Sex, a documentary, and a bestselling book called Notorious RBG, which re-introduced her to a generation of millennial women. It's now possible to purchase T-shirts and coffee mugs with her likeness on them. 
On Halloween, scores of miniature Ginsburgs waving tiny gavels filled social media:
Presentational white space
"I think people of all ages are excited to see a woman in public life who has shown that, even at the age of 85, she can be unflinching in her commitment to equality and justice," says Irin Carmon, one of the co-authors of Notorious RBG. "We don't have enough figures like her."
Famous for her diminutive stature, serious demeanour and long pauses - she is said to have no tolerance for small talk - how did Ruth Bader Ginsburg go from celebrated legal scholar to full-blown celebrity?
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A pay cut for being pregnant

Joan Ruth Bader was born in the Flatbush neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, the daughter of Jewish immigrants. Joan Ruth's mother died of cancer when her daughter was just 17. 
After graduating from Cornell University in 1954, she married Marty Ginsburg and not long after, the couple had their first child. While Ginsburg was pregnant, she was demoted at her job at a social security office - discrimination against pregnant women was still legal in the 1950s. The experience led her to conceal her second pregnancy years later. 
Ginsburg in 1977Image copyrightBETTMANN
Image captionGinsburg in 1977
In 1956, she became one of nine women to enrol at Harvard Law School, where the dean famously compelled his female students to tell him how they could justify taking the spot of a man in his school. She later transferred to Columbia Law School in New York, and became the first woman to work at both schools' law reviews. 
Despite that, Ginsburg struggled to find work, even though she'd been at the top of her class. 
"Not a law firm in the entire city of New York would employ me," she once said. "I struck out on three grounds: I was Jewish, a woman and a mother."
Short presentational grey line

Playing 'kindergarten teacher' to all-male justices

She became a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963, where she taught some of the first women and law classes, and co-founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1973, she became the ACLU's general counsel, which kicked off a prolific era of arguing gender discrimination cases, six of which brought her before the US Supreme Court. 
She argued on behalf of a female Air Force lieutenant who was denied a housing benefit for her husband that her male colleagues received for their wives. She also took men's cases. In 1975, she argued the case of a young widower who was denied benefits after his wife died in childbirth. 
"His case was a the perfect example of how gender-based discrimination hurts everyone," Ginsburg said years later, at her confirmation hearing.
She won five out of the six cases she argued before the Supreme Court, a time when she says she felt she had to explain gender discrimination to the all-male justices like "a kindergarten teacher". 
It was also during this time that she argued on behalf of a female Air Force captain who'd become pregnant, and was being told to abort the baby or lose her job. Ginsburg hoped that the case would make reproductive autonomy a constitutionally-protected right, but instead, the Air Force changed its policy and the case was dismissed. 
The next year, Roe v Wade decided the question of abortion, and Ginsburg fretted that since the decision hinged on right to privacy instead of equal protection, it was open to legal attack.
"The Court ventured too far in the change it ordered and presented an incomplete justification for its action," she said in a 1984 lecture
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The second woman on Supreme Court 

In 1980, as a part of President Jimmy Carter's efforts to diversify the nation's federal courts, Ginsburg was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She gained a reputation as a centrist, voting with conservatives many times and against, for example, hearing the discrimination case of a sailor who said he'd been discharged from the Navy for being gay. 
Justice Ginsburg is sworn in, with her husband Martin holding the bibleImage copyrightMARK REINSTEIN
Image captionJustice Ginsburg is sworn in, with her husband Martin holding the bible
President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993, after a protracted search process in which some feminist groups, according to the New Yorker, spoke privately against her over her past remarks on Roe. But Clinton eventually made up his mind, making Ginsburg the second woman ever nominated to the US Supreme Court.
"It was her interview that did it," Clinton says in the 2018 documentary, RBG. "Literally within 15 minutes, I decided I was gonna name her."
During her confirmation hearing, Ginsburg proclaimed staunch pro-choice views. 
"It is essential to woman's equality with man that she be the decision maker," she said in the hearing before Congress. "If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex."
Short presentational grey line

The fiery dissenter 

One of her most important, early cases on the Supreme Court was United States v Virginia, which struck down the men-only admission policy at Virginia Military Institute. Writing for the majority, Ginsburg said that no law or policy should deny women "full citizenship stature - equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities". 
"It really was the last step in her own trajectory as a lawyer in trying to get the Supreme Court to recognise that gender classifications are a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment," says Paul Schiff Berman, professor of law at George Washington University and one of Ginsburg's law clerks in the late '90s.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her trademark lace glovesImage copyrightSOPA IMAGES
Over the decades, as the court has become more conservative, Ginsburg has increasingly moved to the left, and is now famous for her fiery dissents.
In the case of Shelby County v Holder, the court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, eliminating federal preclearance for changes to local voting laws - a provision intended to prevent voter suppression. 
In response to the majority's assertion that America had changed so much for the better that the preclearance was no longer needed, Ginsburg wrote in her dissent that this was "like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet". 
From justice to icon
In part thanks to her unsparing dissents, a young law student named Shana Knizhnik created a Tumblr account dedicated to Ginsburg called Notorious RBG - a reference to the late rapper The Notorious BIG. The account reintroduced Ginsburg to a new generation of young feminists, and became so popular that Knizhnik and her co-author Carmon turned the blog into a book of the same name, which became a bestseller. 
Notorious RBG helped propel Ginsburg into pop culture stardom. Actress Kate McKinnon began playing Ginsburg on Saturday Night Live. The justice herself is said to distribute T-shirts with her own likeness on them. 
"I think that it's actually something that Justice Ginsburg has really enjoyed in these last few years," says Berman, her former clerk. "For her to feel as if her legacy can inspire a new generation of young women in particular, I think, is very exciting to her."
As a part of her new pop culture relevance, all aspects of Ginsburg's life have become the subject of internet fascination - her workout routine, for example, has been attempted by comedian Stephen Colbert. She's been lauded as a fashion icon, from her penchant for lace gloves to her elaborate jabots, the collars she wears over her robes. Her famous "dissent collar" has been reproduced in miniature for necklaces. 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg dolls
Image captionOne of many RBG novelty items for sale
Her marriage to husband Marty is central to the new biopic, On the Basis of Sex. Marty Ginsburg died in 2010 - during the course of their 56-year marriage, he became his wife's greatest advocate, happy to play second fiddle to his famous partner. 
"Meeting Marty was by far the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me," Ginsburg says in the documentary RBG. 
Ginsburg is a famously stoic woman, but she adores the opera, a passion she shared with the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who despite being her ideological opposite was a close friend before he died in 2016.
"I get totally carried away," she says of opera in the documentary. "It's like an electric current going through me."
But the justice is not immune from criticism - or from error. During the 2016 election, she called then-candidate Donald Trump a "faker", and said she could not imagine a world with him as president. 
"He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego," she told CNN
Afterward she was criticised by both the right and left, who said her comments could undermine her impartiality and the authority of the court. She ultimately apologised.

 Why she refuses to retire

During President Barack Obama's two terms in office, some liberal pundits wondered loudly if it wasn't time for Ginsburg to retire, with a Democrat in office who could be relied upon to install another liberal justice. Those calls have been dismissed by Ginsburg, with some irritation on her part. 
"Many people have asked me, 'Well, when are you going to step down?'" she said in an interview this year. "As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here."
Carmon is quick to point out that this is not the first time Ginsburg has broken her ribs, and that while she has survived two battles with cancer, and had a stent placed in her heart in 2014, she has never missed a day of arguments. 
"Each time she's returned with just as much determination and resilience," says Carmon. "She has been at this work for at least a half-century, and she's not done yet."

October 2, 2018

Kavanaugh's Testimony is starting to Show More and More Holes

Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann report on NBC

 Two reports last night — from NBC News and the New York Times — appear to contradict some of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee from last week.
On when Kavanaugh first learned about Deborah Ramirez’s allegations against him
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: When did you first hear of Ms. Ramirez’s allegations against you?
KAVANAUGH: In the last — in the period since then, the New Yorker story [published on Sept. 23].
But NBC News's Heidi Przbyla and Leigh Ann Caldwell write that Kavanaugh and his team were trying to refute Ramirez’s allegations BEFORE they became public.
“The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh's team and former classmates in advance of the story.”
More: “In a series of texts before the publication of the New Yorker story, Yarasavage wrote that she had been in contact with ‘Brett's guy,’ and also with ‘Brett,’ who wanted her to go on the record to refute Ramirez. According to Berchem, Yarasavage also told her friend that she turned over a copy of the wedding party photo to Kavanaugh, writing in a text: ‘I had to send it to Brett’s team too.’”
On whether Kavanaugh interacted with Ramirez at a 1997 wedding
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Did you interact with Ms. Ramirez at the wedding?
KAVANAUGH: I'm sure — I'm sure I saw her because it wasn't a huge wedding. And at any wedding, you would see the people that you went to school with. But I don't have a specific recollection.
From Przbyla and Caldwell: “Berchem's texts with Yarasavage shed light on Kavanaugh’s personal contact with friends, including that he obtained a copy of a photograph of a small group of friends from Yale at a 1997 wedding in order to show himself smiling alongside Ramirez 10 years after they graduated. Both were in the wedding party: Kavanaugh was a groomsman and Ramirez a bridesmaid at the wedding. On Sept. 22nd, Yarasavage texted Berchem that she had shared the photo with ‘Brett’s team.’” On Kavanaugh’s drinking alcohol during his days at Yale
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The quote that jumped out at me was, “Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him.” There’s also, in a separate setting…
KAVANAUGH: I don’t think that — I don’t — I do not think that’s a fair characterization, and Chris Dudley’s quoted in that [Washington Post] article, and I would refer you to what Chris Dudley said. I spent more time with Chris Dudley in college than just about anyone, and I would refer you to what he said.
But the New York Times reports on a 1985 police report (which NBC News has not verified) suggesting that Kavanaugh was involved in a bar fight — with Chris Dudley at his side.
“The incident, which occurred in September 1985 during Mr. Kavanaugh’s junior year, resulted in Mr. Kavanaugh and four other men being questioned by the New Haven Police Department. Mr. Kavanaugh was not arrested, but the police report stated that a 21-year-old man accused Mr. Kavanaugh of throwing ice on him ‘for some unknown reason.’ A witness to the fight said that Chris Dudley, a Yale basketball player who is friends with Mr. Kavanaugh, then threw a glass that hit the man in the ear, according to the police report.”
More from the Times: “The outlines of the incident were first referred to in a statement issued on Sunday by Chad Ludington, one of Judge Kavanaugh’s college classmates and a member of the Yale basketball team. ‘On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face,’ Mr. Ludington said in the statement. Mr. Ludington, a professor at North Carolina State University, said he came forward because he believed Judge Kavanaugh had mischaracterized the extent of his drinking at Yale.”
(White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responded to the New York Times story, saying: “Democrats desperately attack Judge Kavanaugh for throwing ice during college.”)
And you can now add these examples to other problematic statements Kavanaugh has made — about “Devil’s Triangle,” “Boofed” and that Georgetown Prep boys didn’t mingle with Holton-Arms girls.


While it’s too early to make this conclusion, it’s worth asking whether the fight over Kavanaugh helps out Republicans in red states. We’ve seen the polls — from Quinnipiac and CBS — showing that more Americans/voters oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation than support it. But that’s nationally. How about in North Dakota? Or Indiana? Or Missouri?


Minnesota's state Democratic Party, the Minnesota DFL, issued a statement saying its outside investigation wasn't able to "substantiate" accusations of physical abuse against Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., by an ex-girlfriend. Ellison, who failed in his 2017 bid to become DNC chairman, is currently running for state attorney general in Minnesota.
"The investigation report, which was released today without our knowledge by someone outside of our organization, was unable to substantiate the claim of physical abuse made by Ms. Monahan," DFL Chair Ken Martin said of the allegations levied by Karen Monahan. Martin also said the state party was handing its finding over to law enforcement. "For the purpose of objectivity and getting all of the facts regarding these allegations, we have decided to forward the information in the investigation to local authorities in order to let them review the contents and determine whether further investigation is warranted," he said.
Ellison's Republican opponent, Doug Wardlow, released a statement calling the investigation a "sham." "As predicted, the sham 'investigation' led by the DFL party attorney's legal partner has concluded in favor of the party's Attorney General candidate. But the publicly available evidence contradicts that conclusion," Wardlow said.

September 29, 2018

Thank To Sen Jeff Flake White House Orders An FBI Investigation to Find Facts About Judge Kavanaugh

Trump's statements appear to have backed off a bit from the defiant attack on Democrats for a "search and destroy strategy" against the nominee that he tweeted Thursday night.

Speaking to reporters at the White House before a meeting with Chile's President Sebastián Piñera, Trump said that undecided senators must do what makes them "comfortable" regarding his nomination, adding that he had "no message whatsoever" for the senators who now face a vote to confirm Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice.

"They have to do what they think is right," he said. "There is no message whatsoever. They have to do what they think is right. They have to be comfortable with themselves and I’m sure that’s what they want."
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to advance Kavanaugh's nomination, but only after Republican Sen. Jeff Flake called for a one-week delay on a final vote to allow the FBI to investigate the sexual misconduct allegations.

 GOP Sem Jeff Flake, with the weight of the Senate on his shoulders

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake after speaking during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 28, 2018.
Flake said he would oppose moving forward with Kavanaugh's nomination in the full Senate if Republicans try to bring it up before then.
Asked about the delay, Trump said, "I’m going to let the Senate handle that."
"They’ll make their decisions," he added. "They’ve been doing a good job and very professional. I’m just hearing a little bit about it because I’ve been with the president of Chile and we're talking about some very important subjects. I’m sure it will all be very good."

"I guess the vote was a positive vote but there seems to be a delay. I’ll learn more about it as the day goes on. I just heard about it because we were together."
Look at Senator (R) Jeff Flake. His face shows all the turmoil he is going through and his disagreement at all the political wrangling. Getting an FBI investigation should be the least to ask about of an appointment of this magnitude when there is a credible testimony from a credible witness about Kavanaugh's behavior and maybe lying under oath.
Thanks to Se. Flake, there will be an FBI investigation and this locomotive will be delayed one more week or so until the FBI is done.

September 28, 2018

NYT Mentions 4 Takeaways From What We Saw Yesterday on The Confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh

Since the story is on every paper and cable channel I just wanted to give you in condensed way what we can take away from a nice well educated woman who was nearly rape by a someone who thought because of his standing in school and his parents money could get away with even rape.
I went in with my mind open and after Dr. Ford answered all her questions candidadly and even politely we got to Mr. K who los it. He came into the meeting like if Trump had just coached him. This is a Superior Court Judge and he comes in there with no decorum and not answering the question but to arguing with the Democratic Senators.You could see how a drunken K would have no control because  even f he was sober he had no control of himself.He is terrified of an FBI investigation! There is something he is hidding and do not want it to be discovered. 🦊Adam

WASHINGTON — Two weeks of chaos clouding Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation process culminated Thursday in a hearing that was stunning, even in a town notorious for partisan pageantry and intrigue.
Christine Blasey Ford, the first accuser to come forward and accuse Judge Kavanaugh of grave sexual misconduct, says that he assaulted her when they were teenagers, pushing her onto a bed, groping her, grinding his body against hers and covering her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream.
Viewers across the country — including a critical group of undecided senators who will decide the confirmation — were captivated as Dr. Blasey came forward to tell her story and Judge Kavanaugh fought to clear his name and salvage his spot on the nation’s highest court.
Here are the takeaways.
Dr. Blasey delivered raw, gripping testimony to the committee.
Dressed in a navy suit, Dr. Blasey maintained her composure throughout the hearing, though her voice often broke or shook as she detailed in raw testimony how “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life.” 

 “I struggled with a terrible choice: Do I share the facts with the Senate and put myself and my family in the public spotlight?” she said during her opening statement. “Or do I preserve our privacy and allow the Senate to make its decision without knowing the full truth of his past behaviors?”
Judge Kavanaugh was aggressive, tearful and partisan in his own defense.
Judge Kavanaugh mounted a defiant and tearful defense that stood in stark contrast to the measured and passive interview he gave with his wife to Fox News, denying Dr. Blasey’s accusations forcefully and hitting back at Senate Democrats.“My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional allegations,” he said.He seemed intent on rebutting each point that has been used to cast aspersions on his character. 
The result was wide-ranging, 45-minute remarks that addressed how he spent his summer weekends as a teenager; the encouraging texts his friends sent him in the days preceding the hearing; and that he repeatedly that as a teen he drank beer, but never to the point of blacking out. Before the Senate, his family and God, Judge Kavanaugh said, “I am innocent of this charge.”

Early in his prepared remarks, he went directly at the Democrats, accusing them of inciting a “frenzy” to “come up with something, anything, to block my nomination.”
“Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready,” he said.
He also proved to be a combative witness. Asked by Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, if he had ever blacked out from drinking, he batted the question back: “Have you?”
The committee avoided an Anita Hill moment, but Republicans made their fury known.
Eager to avoid the optics of an all-male Republican panel of senators grilling a sexual assault victim, Senate Republicans chose to employ Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona, to question Dr. Blasey.

The result of the format proved jarring at times, as the hearing moved rapidly back and forth between Senate Democrats’ politically freighted questions and Ms. Mitchell’s meticulous, prosecutorial style. But the effect of Ms. Mitchell’s careful, granular questions was limited by her five-minute blocks of time, and Senate Republicans expressed frustration at the impediment, though they defended their choice to retain an outside questioner.

While Dr. Blasey provided some small clarifications, she remained consistent in her testimony and appeared to gain confidence as the hearing went on.

When it came to questioning Judge Kavanaugh, however, Senate Republicans quickly took matters into their own hands — Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina exploded into a tirade directed at his Democratic colleagues.
“Boy, you all want power,” he said. “God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham that you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She’s as much of a victim as you.”
That outburst changed the tenor of hearings, and one by one, Senate Republicans, dismissing Ms. Mitchell, used their five minutes to apologize to Judge Kavanaugh and denounce their Democratic colleagues.
“You’re the first major target of a new strategy that’s developed here, and I think you’re right,” Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, told Judge Kavanaugh. “I think it’s just basically attack, attack, attack.”
All eyes will stay on the undecided senators.
Republicans on the committee, including Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, said they expect the committee to vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday morning, as scheduled. But while Mr. Kavanaugh’s scorched-earth testimony was well received by his conservative backers, he must also persuade a moderate group of senators known to break from party lines.

One senator who could delay a committee vote is Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, who fought to have the hearing in the first place. Mr. Flake, who is retiring at the end of the year, has offered few hints into his reactions to the testimony, and he declined to ask Judge Kavanaugh any questions during the hearing. But he previously offered his own test to reporters: “If you believe” Dr. Blasey, “you vote no.”
Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, both undecided critical votes, also maintained low profiles on Thursday. Both pledged to refrain from making a decision until they heard both Dr. Blasey’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimonies.
Undecided Democrats running for re-election in Republican states will also be scrutinized, including Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.

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