Senate Democrats mounted a final, fierce bid on Thursday to present Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as an enemy of abortion rights and a likely supporter of President Donald Trump if he arrives at the Supreme Court.
However, his chances of blocking the Trump nominee seemed to fade at the end of a second day of marathon testing at his confirmation hearing.
The interrogation of the 53-year-old appellate judge ended without him revealing much about his judicial positions or committing any serious error that could jeopardize his confirmation.
In what almost seemed like a celebration, Kavanaugh's two daughters returned to the courtroom of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the final hours of testimony, accompanied by basketball teammates from the Catholic school her father had trained.
The audience pivoted during the day for Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion case of the Supreme Court.
The Democrats' best hope of stopping Kavanaugh – who could change the court's right for decades – would be to qualify him as a judge who could vote to overturn the decision, drawing the votes of two Republican senators who support the right to abortion.
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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh smiles as he receives the visit of his daughters' basketball teammates on the third day of his confirmation hearing on Thursday in Capitol Hill, Washington.
Kavanaugh greets the girls he has trained in basketball, during a break on the third day of his confirmation hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee
The father-of-two is represented with student athletes, including his daughter Liza, left
A recently released email suggested that he once indicated that the abortion case was not a settled law, although Kavanaugh denied at the hearing that he had expressed his personal opinion on the issue.
The tone in the email in 2003 contrasted with his responses to Wednesday's questions when he emphasized how difficult it is to nip precedents like Roe. In the email, Kavanaugh was reviewing a potential opinion article in support of two judicial candidates while working in the White House of George W Bush.
The document was kept by the committee as confidential, but was made public on Thursday.
"I am not sure that all legal experts refer to Roe as the established law of the land at the Supreme Court level, since the Court can always annul its precedent, and three current judges in the Court would do so," he wrote. Kavanaugh referring to the judges. at that time, in an email to an assistant Republican Senate. The document was partially written.
When asked by the committee's top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kavanaugh reiterated his earlier testimony that "Roe v Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court."
Democrats also criticized Kavanaugh's ability to separate from Trump and the investigation of special lawyer Robert Mueller on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Throughout his testimony, Kavanaugh has repeatedly insisted that he fully accepts the importance of judicial independence.
Democrats, including Sen Corey Booker (left) and Sen Richard Blumenthal (right) organized the last fierce attempt on Thursday to paint Kavanaugh as an enemy of abortion rights and a likely supporter of President Donald Trump if he arrives at the high court
Trump said his SCOTUS team deserves bipartisan support during the rally & # 39; Make America Great Again & # 39; in Billings, Montana, on Thursday night after the third day of confirmation hearings
In a campaign in Montana on Thursday night, Trump said that Kavanaugh deserves bipartisan support and criticized the anger and pettiness on the other side: he is sick & # 39;
In the courtroom, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois focused his attention on Trump, who, according to Durbin, "has shown contempt for the federal judiciary and has shown a lack of respect for the rule of law over and over again" .
"It's in the context of the Trump presidency that we ask these questions," Durbin said.
Kavanaugh refused to answer questions about Trump or promised to put aside any case about the Russian investigation that could reach the Supreme Court.
When Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut invited him to denounce Trump's criticism of federal judges, the candidate refused.
"The way we stand up is deciding cases and controversies independently without fear or favor," Kavanaugh said.
Earlier, he said his 12-year record as appellate judge shows that he has not been afraid to invalidate the actions of the executive branch. Kavanaugh said he made it clear that a court order "that requires a president to do something or forbid a president to do something … is the last word in our system."
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (left) tried to force an early end to Kavanaugh's hearing by refusing to allow it to continue until 2pm while the Senate was in session, but Majority Republican leader Mitch McConnell (right) allowed the audience will continue
Late on Wednesday afternoon, Kavanaugh seemed to stumble at first when he was questioned by Democrat Kamala Harris of California about whom he might have spoken to in a law firm about investigating the meddling in the Russian election. The firm in question was founded by Marc Kasowitz, who represented Trump.
Kavanaugh eventually said that he could not think of such conversations but that he would need to see a list of the firm's lawyers. In the interrogation on Thursday, he said more directly that he did not have such conversations.
On a separate track, Sen Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Durbin have spearheaded the indictment by suggesting that Kavanaugh tricked them into earlier testimony, an allegation that the candidate strongly denied with the enthusiastic support of Republican senators.
Much of the debate among senators has focused more on document disclosure than on Kavanaugh's record.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, escorted Kavanaugh to the witness table on the second day of his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
After more than an hour's delay on procedural issues, Grassley listens to panel members like Kavanaugh, and expects to testify on the third day of his confirmation hearing on Thursday.
Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, along with Harris, both potential presidential candidates in 2020, said he was willing to risk consequences for the release of confidential documents about Kavanaugh's views on race.
Republican John Cornyn of Texas warned him that senators could be expelled for violating confidential rules. The Democrats and Booker responded: "Keep going."
In fact, some of the documents that the Democrats wanted to reveal had been published hours before, in a pre-dawn revelation approved by Bill Burck, the Republican lawyer who serves as a presidential registration attorney for Bush.
"We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker's histrionics this morning because we had already told him that he could use the documents publicly," Burck said by email.
Booker had requested his release on Wednesday night, after questioning Kavanaugh about the race and provoking criticism from his colleagues for divulging the confidential documents. They were available after 3 am on Thursday.
Booker's spokeswoman said that only by raising the issue publicly was the senator able to shame the committee into accepting it. Publish the pages to the public.
New Jersey Democratic Senator Corey Booker has been one of the noisiest voices to oppose Kavanaugh's audience, which he and other members of his party say has been rushed.
The documentary battle arose from the unusually long paper trail of Kavanaugh after his years in the Bush White House. The panel process resulted in hundreds of thousands of pages of Kavanaugh documents being kept as confidential or that Trump White House did not release them under presidential privilege.
President Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, who published more documents on Thursday, kept up with the handling of the issue.
"My process was fair," Grassley said.
Protesters have repeatedly tried to interrupt the hearing, which has had strong political connotations before the November legislative elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the protesters' "deranged antics" as powerless to stop Trump's election. "There is no veto of those who interrupt," he said.
The Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time for the first day of the new Supreme Court period, on October 1.
A protester is lifted from a chair by the US Capitol Police while screaming during a testimony on Thursday
A woman is escorted out of the confirmation process for interrupting the hearing