Sen. Harris Stumped Kavanaugh With A Question About Laws Governing Men's Bodies

He wasn't able to think of any — and that was exactly Harris' point.

As many express concern over the impact that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh could have on Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court nominee continues to evade questions about his views on abortion rights in his confirmation hearings. 

On his second day of questioning, Kavanaugh faced intensive scrutiny regarding his stance on issues like  racial inequality and a woman's right to choose. The hearing lasted several hours, but it was one prompt from California Sen. Kamala Harris late in the evening that seemed to leave him speechless. 

In the second-to-last question of the night, Harris asked Kavanaugh if he knew of any laws "that give the government power to make decisions over the male body?" According to The Cut, the room remained silent for several seconds before Kavanaugh said, "I'm happy to answer a more specific question, but …" 

After Harris interjected to specify "male versus female," Kavanaugh continued to fumble over his words. Harris  pushed the senator for a direct answer for several minutes before the nominee eventually stated, "I'm not thinking of any right now, senator."

The question marked one of the most powerful moments of the hearing, particularly following widespread speculation that Kavanaugh's confirmation could mean the weakening or even overturning of landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, which protects women's rights to terminate a pregnancy. 

Throughout the hearing, Kavanaugh sidestepped queries regarding his stance on abortion on several occasions. Prior to her pointed question about the government's power over the male body, Harris pushed Kavanaugh to talk about his thoughts on whether "the right to privacy protects a woman's choice to terminate a pregnancy."

Kavanaugh refused to answer, citing precedent from the hearings of previous Supreme Court nominees. "All eight currently sitting justices of the Supreme Court have recognized that two principles are important: One, we shouldn't talk about, in this position, cases or issues that are likely to come before the Supreme Court or could come before the Supreme court," he said.

A different exchange between Harris and Kavanaugh about the Mueller investigation.

That wasn't the only time throughout the evening that Kavanaugh deflected giving direct responses. At earlier points in the hearing, both Sen. Diane Feinstein and Sen. Mazie Hirono asked about his opinions on abortion, with Hirono specifying whether he believed it to be a constitutional right for immigrants. Kavanaugh evaded each of the questions, giving only this vague response to the latter: "The Supreme Court has recognized that persons in the United States have constitutional rights."

In another stunning moment, Hirono also challenged Kavanaugh to address the behavior of former boss Judge Alex Kozinski, who was accused of sexually harassing over 15 women. Though Kavanaugh claimed he had no knowledge of Kozinski's behavior, Hirono expressed skepticism at his response, asking point-blank whether he believed the women who accused Kozinski of harassment. "I have no reason not to believe them," Kavanaugh responded.

With Kavanaugh's hearings still underway, senators continue to put the Supreme Court nominee under the microscope. On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker released several confidential emails dealing with racial profiling from Kavanaugh's time on the White House counsel. The move came after Booker and Kavanaugh's entered a heated debate over racial inequality during the nominee's third day in front of the Judiciary Committee. 

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