WATCH LIVE: Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings launch amid partisan fireworks, high stakes for Supreme Court

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The Senate Judiciary Committee launches confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, kicking off what is expected to be a bitterly partisan gauntlet as Democrats vow to scrutinize his lengthy record as an appellate judge and lawyer in the Bush administration.

In excerpts of his opening statement released by the White House Tuesday morning, Kavanaugh vowed to be an objective “pro-law judge.”

“A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy,” he plans to say. “I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge. … If confirmed to the Court, I would be part of a Team of Nine, committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

Kavanaugh’s elevation from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy would mark a generational rightward shift on the Supreme Court, raising the stakes beyond those of last year’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch and leading Democrats to ratchet up their rhetoric.

Last month, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., accused anyone who supports Kavanaugh of being “complicit in evil.” After ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea – which was used by Democrats to push for Kavanaugh delays – Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, even nixed a one-on-one meeting with the nominee, claiming Trump had picked him “purposely … to protect, as we say in Hawaii, his own okole” from possible criminal charges. Some Democrats, including Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., had rejected Trump’s selection before they even knew who it was, predicting the nomination process would be a “corrupt bargain with the far Right, big corporations, and Washington special interests.” – READ MORE

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