Sen. Lindsey Graham offered Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh an opportunity to directly address guests attending his confirmation hearings, including the father of a Parkland victim — a day after he came under fire for allegedly "snubbing" the man's handshake, a move the White House has maintained was a misunderstanding.
Videos circulated Tuesday of Kavanaugh getting up from his chair after the Senate Judiciary Committee called a recess. During that time, Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed during the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, approached Kavanaugh and extended his hand. Kavanaugh didn't reciprocate, which some claimed was intentional.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah, however, clarified the incident Tuesday, explaining that security stepped in to prevent the interaction. He added they were unaware of Guttenberg's identity at the time, though the Parkland dad claims otherwise.
"As Judge Kavanaugh left for his lunch break, an unidentified individual approached him. Before the Judge was able to shake his hand, security had intervened," Shah wrote on Twitter, later posting a video that displayed a different angle of the Washington, D.C. hearing room.
"New video of hearing room clearly shows security intervened when Judge #Kavanaugh was approached," he added, posting a video of a nearly 30-second clip.
Guttenberg responded to the tweet, which he called "incorrect."
"I was here all day and introduced by Senator Feinstein. No security involved. He turned and walked away," he replied.
During his allotted questioning time, Graham, R-S.C., asked Kavanaugh if he'd like speak to people in the audience who may have concerns about his nomination for the nation's highest court.
"I want to give you a chance to say some things to the people who have attended this hearing ... what would you like to say to them, if anything, about your job as a Supreme Court Justice?" Graham asked.
"I understand the real world effects of our decisions. In my job as a judge for the last 12 years, I've gone out of my way in my opinions and at oral arguments ... to make clear to everyone before me that I understand the situation, the circumstances, the facts," Kavanaugh responded.
Kavanaugh added he wanted to reassure everyone that he bases all of his decisions on the law — keeping in mind that it has real world consequences.
"I have not lived in a bubble," he continued. "I understand how passionately people feel about particular issues, and I understand how personally people are affected by issues. And I understand the difficulties that people have in America."
Graham listened silently as Kavanaugh discussed his charitable work and how his faith has influenced him personally. Kavanaugh then praised teachers and coaches for changing lives, adding that he hopes to also make a positive impact as a judge.
"I judge based on the law," he reiterated.
Graham eventually interrupted, "Is it fair to say that your job as a judge is to not so much to stand in the shoes of somebody you're sympathetic to but stand in the shoes of the law?"
"You're in the shoes of the law, but with awareness of the impacts of your decisions and that's the critical distinction. You can't be unaware when you write an opnion — how's it going to affect people?" Kavanaugh responded.