Published 9:06 PM EDT Oct 4, 2018
WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he was "sharp" and said "a few things I should not have" during a Senate hearing over sexual assault allegations last week.
Kavanaugh, writing in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, said he regretted his tone at times during last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that included Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens.
"I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been," Kavanaugh wrote. "I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said."
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Kavanaugh promised in the piece, titled "I am an independent, impartial judge," that his tone was not an indication that his open-mindedness would change if the Senate confirms him to the nation's highest court.
"Going forward, you can count on me to be the same kind of judge and person I have been for my entire 28-year legal career: hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good," he wrote.
Kavanaugh used the piece to rebuff criticism that his tone and comments targeting Democrats during the hearing could be seen as a political bias and something that could hang over decisions for years to come.
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said that he originally supported Kavanaugh but could not any longer because of Kavanaugh's "performance" during the hearings, according to the Palm Beach Post
"At that time, I thought (Kavanaugh) had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected," Stevens said. “I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability … I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind."
Democrats and even some Republicans who hold key votes on Kavanaugh's confirmation have pointed out Kavanaugh appeared angry and targeted Democrats multiple times while defending his reputation.
Kavanaugh accused liberals of "a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election."
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said after last week's hearing that he "didn’t like some of the more partisan references and the tone, particularly with some of my colleagues." Flake, who holds a key Senate vote deciding Kavanaugh's future, added, "We can’t have that on the Court.”
But President Donald Trump, who picked Kavanaugh to serve on the court, was pleased with his aggressive tone, according to officials who spoke with USA TODAY.
After the hearing, Trump posted his support for Kavanaugh on Twitter.
"Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him," the president wrote. "His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist."
The editorial was published on the eve of a pivotal vote in his confirmation. A procedural vote on Kavanaugh's nomination is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EDT Friday. If it passes, it could pave the way for a final vote as early as Saturday.
Republican leaders are increasingly optimistic about Kavanaugh's chances of confirmation after two undecided Republican senators, Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, gave initial positive reactions to an FBI report released Thursday looking into the sexual assault allegations.