I attended this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee executive session.
So much for Senate Republicans’ commitment to have Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Instead, Chairman Specter agreed to Democrats’ demands for another hearing on Kavanaugh. That hearing is supposed to take place next Tuesday, May 9, with a committee vote on Thursday, May 11.
Chairman Specter’s stated reason for agreeing to a second hearing is—get this!—that Senator Schumer said that a hearing could be useful in persuading him to vote for Kavanaugh. No sooner had Specter said this than Schumer proceeded to label Kavanaugh a “partisan warrior” and attack his fitness to be a judge. Unless Kavanaugh is lobotomized between now and May 11, there is zero prospect that Schumer will vote for Kavanaugh’s nomination. Expect instead that he and his fellow Democrats will use the hearing to ask invasive questions Kavanaugh can’t possibly answer and to demand sensitive documents that the White House can’t provide—all of which will then set the stage for demands for further delay.
Although it’s tempting to blame Specter for this delay, a committee staffer tells me that Senators Graham and DeWine—members of the Gang of 14—worked hard to persuade Specter that another hearing would ensure that Democrat members of the Gang of 14 wouldn’t support a filibuster. We’ll see. In any event, it’s far from clear that, absent a second hearing, those Democratic senators would have supported a filibuster—and there would have been a lot of value in putting them to the test.