Behind the scenes of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Judge Brett Kavanaugh faces questions on executive power and the role of the judiciary on Capitol Hill.
13:10 | 09/05/18

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Transcript for Behind the scenes of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing
All right and you were watching live coverage at the continuing second day here of the George Brett Cavanaugh confirmation hearings. All the sudden got a little more subdued after lunch perhaps the senators. Taking a bit of a breather you can see behind me. Still milling about here for a very short break as we continue question in this day set for. About twelve hours of questioning of judge Kavanagh in this latest round. You saw Mike leave their view targeting and who could have to judicial philosophy. Let's take a listen to that exchange. Talk about judicial philosophy from and I like to discuss. Federalist 78. And in Federalist 78 Hamilton. Discusses the and dichotomy between will on the one hand and judgment on the other. Will being something that is exercised. By the political branches primarily by the congress by legislative branch and judgment being something exercised by the judicial branch what's the difference between those two. The U. Judicial branch is deciding cases or controversies according to law. Be. Legislative branch is making policy exercising the will. The judicial branch can never. He did exercise the policy making role that is reserved the congress now admittedly that's speaking at a level general rowdy in there tough cases the margins always. And trying to figure out what the line here is here but as a general proposition it's important for every judged. To go in with the mindset out of and not the policy maker. On the wall interpreter oil supplier in particular case and I think that's a very. Important part of the Federalist papers it's woven into the constitutional structure and articles for a and that. Judges I'd certainly have tried for twelve years as a judge on the DC circuit to incorporate that basic foundational principle and how I approach. Each case and it is a very critical. Bedrock principle of what judges do in our constitutional system. Write a judge Jack Kavanagh they're giving us a bit of a civics lesson on the separation of powers but also. Speaking about the importance of courts and true pretty laws and not making laws not. Legislating and policy certainly a major talking point for conservatives let's bring in our. Senior Supreme Court correspondent Terry Moran who was down there. In the hearing room while they Terry we were just to talk in a little bit about to how the original lists. Might love judge cabin on he certainly gives them a reason to hear today. He does but you know if you listen very closely to that sometimes tense discussion I judicial philosophy my favorite question of the hearing. What's your favorite among the Federalist papers. I'm personally number ten by but but what he what I think he really. He showed some cards there on this in that. Justice Scalia Antonin Scalia who was one of really the drivers of the rootless philosophy called himself. Only a half hearted original. Because he would sometimes depart from that the pure regional meaning public meaning constitutional provisions. And bring in other things sometimes just the equities the fairness in that case not much with that with Justice Scalia but other things as well. And justice Clarence Thomas that airs ought True Blue original. And it actually sounds to me like justice and that's asleep judge Kavanagh if you get on the Supreme Court would be some or even less original list than Justice Scalia. He talks not just about that history in the regional public meaning he talks about the history. Subsequent. To the passing of the constant rat here's a constant by the passing laws he talks about other things that are in the case in some ways. That that might give people who are concerned about eight justice Kavanagh. Some hope that that perhaps it wouldn't be as hard line conservative in their view is as as others. On the other hand. It it does give more playing to whatever it is actual policy preferences are. He's not. Not only has he not a half hearted originally like Justice Scalia. Either about a third hearted original. Third hearted original list and nominee. Believer in nominee precedent that she said earlier corny now his phrase. Towing now. Line and and weighing in on some of the thorny topics today Terry let's talk about some of those. One of the order that we've talked a lot earlier about abortion which came up of course guns. Are also little good bit of conversation about his role in. Detainee policy in the Bush Administration as White House counsel. The president's well very controversial warrantless wiretapping program the enhanced interrogation techniques which many people called. Torture. Terry talk livid about the controversy of all around that here today he is George Kavanagh. Created some distance from those programs but. Certainly some evidence or he may have been associated with them. That's right through he has drawn a very fine line here that was he involved in the in giving legal advice. Or or other advice on the programs themselves on the warrantless wiretapping as it's called I guess that terrorists anti terrorist programs the way President Bush called it. Where there were at Johnny and super computers who bring up all kinds of personal information about. Virtually every American without any specific worn looking for keywords looking for indications. That there might be some kind of threat to the nation in all that information. Judge judge Cavanaugh says he had nothing to do with that program. On the enhanced interrogation or torture as John McCain called it plain and simple. He says Vietnam is doing that program. But the question is did he have we have input on specific cases. And there seems to be some indication. That he is defined. Involvement. Very narrowly and I expect the Democrats to go after more on just how much Hume he had to do. Dana he's not the president is now making policies not even advising policy but was did he have input at all. On these specific cases that they seem to have located that that could come up again. Yeah and Terry did the belt line of questioning from Democrats on that topic and all these controversial topics trying to throw home off its game perhaps highlight some of the more controversial. Aspects of his record but it. At this stage in the middle a day to hear it doesn't look like at least yet. That they've created. Eighty in major snack food in his city his continuation to be confirmed right. I would think that definitely true yes act kept a very low profile as far as the news is concerned and that's his job about there it is once that had up above the Arafat where. Somebody might take a shot at it and it almost ends up in a disappointing here look at north instinct thing to me. Unexpectedly did to me is is senator whitehouse. Answer asked that. Half an hour with the questions on the money not just in our politics. But in our courts. And he raised the prospect that some of the same big time big conservative big. Corporate donors that have sponsored. Candidates and campaigns around the country with great. Freedom at post Citizens United Supreme Court case that took the shackles off corporate giving. And corporate spending should stay on on political ads. Also is seeping into our courts and White House very carefully. Showed how. Corporate funding is sponsoring legal groups which are finding cases finding places in order to make an argument. I don't make it Supreme Court to change law. And he challenged he accused. Judge Kavanagh of anything. He just said isn't this a problem for our country out when it looks as if corporations. Which have so much influence in our election. Are also announced aiming to get their own way in courts of law and because they're picking and choosing the cases in convincing you'd take a and Kavanagh didn't play. It was I've got a very sincere question from a senator who suggested and if you're going to be on the court. And you should watch out for the problem confidence that the public might have been Supreme Court given all this corporate money that's coming. An accountant kind of brushed it away just did not want really to get involved. All right our chief. Supreme Court correspondent Terry Moran in the middle of day to Terri thanks so much for sticking around in for talking to us. Meanwhile a little bit earlier we got the perspective of our veteran senate producer Trish turner. Who's been here covering these hearings. Passed this week in the past. Several of nominees and we'd she took us backstage here behind the scenes. To a pretty unusual vantage point we answer some questions about what it's like. To cover Supreme Court hearing tackles. Trish thanks so much for doing this we. They're really busy down there in the hearing room and actually what I view this is gives a sense of what we're what are we looking at here all these years I've been here I've never seen this if this is really call. And so we're staring. A majority side split on the now here are so. And then this are the phalanx of staffers that are amazing that help these guys hours and hours and hours of testimony that companies are these are private boxes you were same for majority minority staff power usual so they bringing guests bringing gas to consider it here from this incredible vantage point and then snapping polls over here snapple's for the viewing but what. What have you I just wanted to give folks behind the scenes look at somebody who has a total pro you've been covering the senate for years. You done a number of these confirmation hearings. What surprised you most you've been in the room for this one give us a sense of where this one compares. With the other so much more interesting to cover I've never had experience is kinda like. To mold the fireworks that in it for some of the Democrats ran interrupting chairman right away and we need to gavel hearing open. I was so shocked by that it's never happened. It's really promised breach of etiquette in a way and that's an and it's such. It's sort of is that science at times so polarized now and normally this is committing murder but he gets inducted happen in in the protesters are standing I was struck by the number capital he'll pull weeds that it mine in the hearing room. Looking down now appears to each and every five feet about two doesn't in any cats and hit it on the things you might. It's like if there any. And are out any other plants. They've shut down hallways like all all it's only a round this hearing room and they really afraid of protestors in arcing bit of why acts. It in a little bit of drama homes just a few minutes ago when the senate over in the senate chamber just not far from your Christian you can Phyllis in. Move to block the hearings try to shut it down this is Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democratic Leader toss what happens now. So we passed an advancement while of the kind of delaying tactics tactics that Democrats could employ because. We knew they wanted these hearings to occur you know weeks in the eastern now if never. And and so what the majority leader with a minority leader it was try to and that some of the two hour rule it is simply means. In the sunny at unanimous consent for key committees to meet. After the senate has been opened an ancestor for two hours it is he who knew they had certainly continue to hear the first time I found out about that was during the Iraq War Democrats employ this exact same strategy and so we are what is the two hour Earl let me at the urging of the parliament and do it at this. But McConnell is a real Mitch McConnell is a really savvy majority leader as the rules he just adjourn the senate today so. If you don't have a senate session and you can invoke any. Girl parts of this hearing is continuing descended as adjourned for the data shut down that protest. But Trish before we lynch ago we know you've been doing a lot of preparation think folks may wonder. What goes in to covering the Supreme Court nomination four days of merit that we're not lawyers. Oddly he spent a lot of time reading court cases and a lot of legalese is fine and hear us. I a normally. I have to brush up on them you know I'm now all my leg Roe vs. Wade keys he yet Citizens United like everything under the sun. And then this president has brought a whole new layer of legal. You know cases that I never even thought of lake Tina who knew about the United States vs Nixon in and that's what compelled the the tapes to be turned over by one of president Nixon's own nominees to this. Under Reid cases and precedent that we would that really would never have come before a committee like this before in the past. Attrition bottom line looking like he's getting confirmed in your view absolutely I don't think there's a lot of doubt here and barring some bombshell which never happens and it's hearings I it's in thinking about it's all right Trish turner ABC senate producer. Thanks so much trash.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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