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Appeals court nominee Kavanaugh denies role in Bush detainee policies

[JURIST] The US Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Thursday on the controversial renomination of White House aide Brett Kavanaugh [White House backgrounder] to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Kavanaugh faced probing questions from committee members Tuesday, one day after the American Bar Association [profession website] lowered its rating [JURIST report] of him from "well qualified" to "qualified" [ratings, PDF; White House response]. Kavanaugh was asked about his possible involvement in the development of White House policies on interrogation of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] prisoners and detainees held abroad. He was also queried about his work with then-independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the impeachment investigation of President Clinton in the late 1990s and work he did for the Bush campaign during the disputed 2000 election. Kavanaugh denied any role in shaping Bush policies on detainees and said that in making judicial decisions he "would interpret the law as written and not impose personal policy choices."

Kavanaugh's original nomination in 2003 stalled over Democrats' concerns about his role in setting White House policy. Last week, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) [official website] said that he was considering a filibuster [JURIST report] to block him again. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] says he wants a full Senate vote on the nomination before Memorial Day. AP has more.

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