US Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh declared himself "independent, impartial" Thursday in a highly unusual plea following criticism of his performance at a Senate committee hearing on sexual assault allegations against him.
"I am an independent, impartial judge," said the headline to an opinion piece he wrote in The Wall Street Journal as the Senate moves towards a weekend confirmation vote on his nomination by President Donald Trump.
Kavanaugh penned the defense of his performance during last week's Judiciary Committee hearing at which he denied the allegations, made at the same hearing, of a California university professor.
Christine Blasey Ford said he drunkenly groped her and attempted to take her clothes off in what she believed was a rape attempt when they were teenagers decades ago.
More than 650 law professors signed a letter to the Senate, published in The New York Times on Wednesday, saying that at the hearing Kavanaugh "did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament" required for the Supreme Court, and urged that he not be confirmed.
Protesters on Capitol Hill on Thursday carried signs calling the judge a liar and "unfit" to serve.
"My hearing testimony was forceful and passionate. That is because I forcefully and passionately denied the allegation against me," Kavanaugh wrote in the Journal.
"I do not decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge."
He added that the country's top court "must never be viewed as a partisan institution."
In his testimony last week, Kavanaugh complained about "a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election."
He called the campaign against his nomination "a circus" and spoke of a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything, to block my confirmation."