WASHINGTON, DC (CBSNewYork) — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was being questioned Thursday for a second day on Capitol Hill.
After Wednesday’s session lasted over 12 hours, the latest hearing got off to a tense start over the controversial release of confidential emails.
Kavanaugh sat in silence as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee battled over the release of classified documents related to his time in the George W. Bush White House.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker made a bold promise to break Senate rules and release a specific document designated classified.
“I am going to release the email about racial profiling and I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate,” Booker declared.
The New Jersey Democrat made good on his promise, releasing that committee confidential email just after 11 a.m. Thursday on Twitter. The email appears to show Kavanaugh, during his time in the Bush administration, entertaining the use of racial profiling to combat terrorism after 9/11.
The breaking of Senate rules sparked a fierce debate among the committee members questioning Kavanaugh and even drew sharp words among Booker’s fellow Democrats.
“I do not accept the process of this committee confidential routine we went through. I do not accept its legitimacy. I do not accept its validity,” Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said.
“We’re talking about whether the American people have a right to know,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois argued.
“You talk about the public right to know, you want to give up your emails right now make them public? I don’t think so,” Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa countered.
When Thursday’s questioning finally began, Sen. Diane Feinstein of California tried again to get a definitive answer from Kavanaugh about his views on abortion, reading from a confidential document just released.
“I’m not sure all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since court can always overrule its precedent,” Feinstein quoted from one of the released documents.
As was the case Wednesday, the nominee was careful not to answer questions about issues that might come before him as a justice.
“I have to follow what the nominees who have sat in this seat before me have done,” Kavanaugh replied.
All 21 senators were to have a chance to question Kavanaugh for 20 minutes on Thursday. Chairman Grassley told the room that the hearing could last until midnight.