"I think the first thing that makes a good judge is independence - not being swayed by political or public pressure - that takes some backbone. That takes some judicial fortitude. The great moments in American judicial history, the judges had backbone and independence."
"You think about United States versus Nixon, which I've identified as one of the greatest moments in American judicial history, where Chief Justice Burger, who had been appointed by President Nixon, brought the court together in a unanimous decision to order President Nixon in response to a criminal trial subpoena to disclose information. Those great moments of independence and unanimity are important."
"You're correct. No one is above the law in our constitutional system. Federalist 69, Hamilton makes clear all the ways that the executive branch has designed by the framers of the Constitution was different from the monarchy. Under our system of government, the executive branch is subject to the law, subject to the court system."
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he believes the first thing that makes a good judge is "independence."
Kavanaugh is answering questions Wednesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's his first day answering questions from lawmakers.
Committee chairman Chuck Grassley began the day by asking Kavanaugh to explain what he thinks makes a good judge, as protesters continually disrupted the hearing.
Kavanaugh responded that he thinks "the first quality of a good judge in our constitutional system is independence." He said being a good judge also requires paying attention to the words of the Constitution and the words of laws, "not doing what I want to do."
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Brett Kavanaugh , Chuck Grassley
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