CORNYN: Every Democrat ‘would be held in contempt of court because this whole process is supposed to be a civil one…’
(David G. Savage, Jennifer Haberkorn and Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times) WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats wasted no time Tuesday in moving to block the confirmation hearing of Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, refusing to allow Republicans to even introduce the candidate.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) had barely begun his introductory remarks when Democrats on the committee repeatedly interrupted and called for the proceeding to be halted until members had more time to review documents concerning Kavanaugh’s past activities working in the White House for President George W. Bush.
The disruption was part of a coordinated plan by the Democrats to disrupt the hearing, as several news organizations reported on Tuesday, including Kasie Hunt of NBC News.
Democrats plotted coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and all agreed to disrupt and protest the hearing, sources tell me and @frankthorp.
Dem leader @chuckschumer led a phone call and committee members are executing now
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) September 4, 2018
“What is the rush?” asked Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “What are we trying to hide?”
Most Democratic members of the committee joined in the protest, refusing to allow Grassley to put the hearing back on track.
Kavanaugh sat silently, smiling, even as several audience members shouted their support for the Democrats’ protest. Several were removed from the chamber.
At one point, Kavanaugh began to introduce his family, but again was interrupted by Democrats.
Democrats were responding to the White House’s decision on Monday to withhold about 100,000 documents concerning Kavanaugh’s past work.
Democrats had requested millions of pages of documents. More than 40,000 new pages were released shortly before Tuesday’s hearing began.
Democrats complained that did not give them enough time to review them.
“What is being done here is unprecedented,” says Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the former committee chairman.
But Republicans, eager to fast-track the confirmation, rejected their request and even refused to wait for the National Archives to supply a smaller amount of pages that the GOP had initially requested.
“This being politics—and this being a Supreme Court confirmation hearing—my Democratic colleagues can’t admit that you’re actually a good judge, and a good person as well,” said former Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and the committee’s senior member, to Judge Kavanaugh. “They have to turn the volume up to eleven and try to paint you as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
Grassley rejected the Democrats’ call to suspend the hearing, move into executive session or hold a vote on whether to proceed. He said the number of pages released about Kavanaugh were far greater than those about any other previous Supreme Court nominee.
“I would just suggest we get on with the hearing,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.
He suggested that if the hearing room were a courtroom, every Democrat “would be held in contempt of court because this whole process is supposed to be a civil one.”
After nearly 80 minutes, Democrats relented and allowed the hearing to proceed, though disruptions from audience members continued.
©2018 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.