The Latest: Kennedy’s former clerks praise Kavanaugh

From left, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, hold a news conference to refute Senate Democrats who are intensifying their fight over documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's stint as staff secretary at the White House, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. The GOP members of the Judiciary Committee used a wall of empty boxes to dramatize the amount of documents. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) –The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Former law clerks to retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy are praising high court candidate Brett Kavanaugh as a “fair-minded and conscientious successor.”

The former clerks sent a letter Thursday to Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, and Sen. Diane Feinstein, the ranking Democratic member.

They describe Kavanaugh as “supremely qualified.”

They say, “Much like Justice Kennedy, Judge Kavanaugh has made clear that he holds both the law and the principle of judicial independence in the highest regard.”

Senators are currently reviewing Kavanaugh’s record. President Donald Trump nominated him to fill Kennedy’s seat last month.

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4:10 p.m.

The National Archives and Records Administration says it won’t be able to finish reviewing nearly 1 million documents regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House until the end of October, a potential roadblock in GOP hopes for confirmation before the November election.

Republican leaders in the Senate appeared unfazed by the updated timetable, determined to push forward with confirmation hearings on President Donald Trump’s nominee next month, even if the documents are not fully available.

The paper chase over Kavanaugh’s lengthy public record is emerging as a key battleground as senators scrutinize the 53-year-old appellate judge, a conservative whose views on gay marriage, abortion and executive power could tip the court rightward for a generation.

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