Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing swiftly devolved into chaos on Tuesday after congressional Democrats protested and asked to adjourn.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) had spoken less than even a few sentences when Senator Kamala Harris interrupted him.
“We have not been given an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing on this nominee,” the California senator said.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) called on Grassley to adjourn the hearing so committee members would have the opportunity to review a new batch of documents on Kavanaugh released late Monday night. The thousands of documents relate to the judge’s time as staff secretary to former president George W. Bush.
Senators Mazie Hirono, Patrick Leahy, Chris Coons, Cory Booker, and Dick Durbin were among those that interjected with their objections to continuing the hearing.
“I really regret this, but I think you have to understand the frustration on this side of the aisle,” ranking Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein said after remaining silent for some time. “It’s not to create a disruption. . . . It is to say, ‘Majority, give us the time to do our work so that we can have a positive and comprehensive hearing on the man who may well be the deciding vote for many of Americans’ futures.’”
Grassley responded by letting Democratic senators speak, which delayed the hearing for over an hour, but he warned he could keep the process going through the weekend.
“We are going to be in session Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, til we get done this week,” he threatened.
Kavanaugh is “the kind of judge Americans want on the Supreme Court,” the chairman added, and Democrats have “tactic after tactic to delay and obstruct” his confirmation.
The effort by Democrats to delay the confirmation was reportedly a coordinated effort led by Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
🚨🚨 The Senate was just given an additional 42,000 pages of Kavanaugh documents the NIGHT BEFORE his confirmation hearing. This underscores just how absurd this process is. Not a single senator will be able to review these records before tomorrow.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 4, 2018
The disruption was regarded as unprecedented for a Supreme Court nominee”s hearing, according to Supreme Court reporters and Grassley himself, who has participated in hearings on 15 nominees.
“Stunning. I’ve never seen such a disruption,” said CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic.