Senate committee delays vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh

800 (2).jpeg

(Photo: AP)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The US Senate Judiciary Committee said on Thursday it will delay a vote on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until next week.

"We lack the time, we lack the documents and we need witnesses before we can proceed further with this meeting," Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said at the committee business meeting on Thursday.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein added that she did not understand Republicans' "rush to judgment" on Kavanaugh.

The committee voted 11-10, along party lines, to hold a vote next Thursday.

Under committee rules, any one member can delay a nomination the first time it appears on the panel's agenda.

Earlier this month, Trump said he's happy with Kavanaugh's performance at the Senate confirmation hearings as he saw "some incredible answers to very complex questions."

In July, Trump nominated Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old conservative federal appeals court judge, to the Supreme Court to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement in June.

Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings began last week amid outbursts and disruptions, which have led to arrests of at least 70 protesters.

Liberal advocacy groups and others were concerned that Trump's pick could move the already conservative-leaning court more solidly to the right and revisit landmark rulings on abortion access, same-sex marriage and other hot-button issues.

During the hearings, Kavanaugh signaled respect for the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion nationwide and condemned the spate of US school shootings. He declined to answer hypothetical questions about the powers of the president, but said "no one is above the law in our constitutional system."

Kavanaugh was the second time in two years that Trump has made a Supreme Court pick.

The president nominated Neil Gorsuch, seen as solidly conservative, to the court shortly after he took office early 2017. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate with a 54-45 vote months later.

The confirmation for Kavanaugh's nomination was expected to be contentious, with the Senate now narrowly divided, 51-49, in favor of Republicans.