Kavanaugh's Testimony on Executive Power [Updated with Material from the Afternoon Session]

Kavanaugh is President Trump's second nominee to the US Supreme Court

Kavanaugh is President Trump's second nominee to the US Supreme Court

"But unbelievably, almost two dozen Democrats have still not come out against Kavanaugh, and just last week, you helped Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fast track 15 Trump judicial nominees".

Kavanaugh also is likely to face questions about his views on investigating sitting presidents and the ongoing probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Republicans hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed early in October at the start of the next Supreme Court term. This was a 5-4 decision, meaning that similar cases that reach the Court in the future could again be decided by the vote of one justice.

Democrats have indicated that they intend to pressure Kavanaugh into explaining his stance on a number of issues, including whether he would uphold Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion. "Precedent is rooted right in the Constitution itself". And on the most contentious cases, the court tends to split into two sides, conservative and liberal.

The Supreme Court nominee is set to answer questions from senators throughout the day for the first time Wednesday. "This is what happens in a free country when people can stand up and speak and not be jailed, imprisoned, tortured and killed because of it", Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said. Democrats remained feisty, which - combined with protester arrests, a viral handshake attempt, and a suspicious hand gesture - made for a pretty wild display (for a Senate hearing).

Trump jumped into the fray Tuesday, saying on Twitter that Democrats were "looking to inflict pain and embarrassment" on Kavanaugh.

"It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, if you're right under the law, you prevail", Kavanaugh said. He pointed specifically to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who during her 1993 confirmation hearing said it would be wrong for her to "preview in this legislative chamber how I would cast my vote on questions the Supreme Court may be called upon to decide" - a move that has since been dubbed the "Ginsburg rule".

Asked about an email list Kozinski allegedly used to send offensive material, Kavanaugh said: "I don't remember anything like that".

Republicans hold a slim Senate majority and can confirm Kavanaugh if they stay united.

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said last month that if Mueller were to subpoena Trump, his legal team would fight back in a battle that would end up in the Supreme Court. He said the decision has "been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years".

"NBC News reported that Democratic members of the committee plotted with minority leaders to disrupt the hearing yesterday", he said. Grassley gaveled the committee to order Tuesday. "We have not had an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing", said California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris.

They railed against the unusual vetting process by Republicans that failed to include documents from three years Kavanaugh worked in the Bush administration, and 100,000 more pages withheld by the Trump White House. Over 42,000 pages of documents. But moments after Grassley opened the session, Democrats interrupted the chairman, decrying the withholding of documents and continuously asking to have the proceedings adjourned.

Democratic Senators mulled making an even more dramatic scene, according to Politico report published Tuesday night.

Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only two Republicans even remotely open to voting against Kavanaugh, though neither has said she would do so.

Several lawmakers argued in their opening statements that the judge would be sympathetic to Trump, should such a situation arise, and that he was considered a potential ally for the president.

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko and Ken Thomas contributed.

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