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Watch Live: Brett Kavanaugh Begins Confirmation Hearings

Annette Elizabeth Allen

Opening statements are underway in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Watch the hearing live below, courtesy of NPR.

Kavanaugh, 53, has served for the past 12 years on the appeals court in Washington, D.C., which is considered the second most important court in the country after the Supreme Court. His conservative record includes a dissenting opinion last year that would have denied immediate access to an abortion for an immigrant teenager in federal custody. 

Kavanaugh worked in key White House positions when George W. Bush was president and was a member of independent counsel Kenneth Starr's legal team that investigated President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, leading to Clinton's impeachment. 

As a young lawyer, Kavanaugh worked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, the man he would replace on the high court. Kennedy retired at the end of July. Trump's first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, also was a Kennedy law clerk the same year as Kavanaugh. 

The first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings Tuesday will also feature opening statements from senators. When he was sworn in as an appellate judge in 2006, Kavanaugh called an independent judiciary "the crown jewel of our constitutional democracy." 

Questioning will begin on Wednesday, and votes in committee and on the Senate floor could occur later in September. If all goes as Republicans plan, Kavanaugh could be on the bench when the court begins its new term on October 1.