Flake predicts 'respectful' confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (R-Ariz.) predicts that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing will be "respectful" despite the high stakes on both sides.

Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is set to interview Kavanaugh starting Tuesday, told reporters he considers Kavanaugh to be "a good man" but that the hearings are essential.

"We have hearings for a reason, we want to find out how he feels on certain subjects and you can only do that by asking him directly," Flake said. "That's appropriate and proper, but I hope it's done in a respectful manner and I think it will be."

Kavanaugh's hearing is expected to be contentious, with a number of Democrats coming out against him. Democrats are eager to question President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE's second Supreme Court pick over his position on issues such as Roe v. Wade and whether a president should be immune from criminal complaints.

Flake, who is retiring in January, noted that the hearing for Kavanaugh will come days after the death of his colleague and friend, longtime Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (R-Ariz.), who was buried Sunday in Maryland. Lawmakers honored the life of the six-term senator in several events last week.

"I hope that this tells us that America is longing for those kind of politics again, where we respect each other, where we see the humanity in our opponents. If John McCain can forgive his captors, his tormentors in North Vietnam, then certainly we can forgive each other for petty offenses, and so I hope that's what we take from this," Flake said.

— Molly Hooper