Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing was overtaken by political theatrics on Tuesday, as Democratic lawmakers and protesters delayed the formal start of proceedings by more than an hour – and Republicans fired back by touting Kavanaugh’s credentials and decrying the breach of decorum.
The spectacle underscored the political nature of the confirmation hearings, coming two months before the midterms and as some senators gear up for a possible 2020 presidential run against President Trump. Several of those senators led the charge Tuesday in objecting to Kavanaugh.
Within moments of Tuesday's kickoff, top Democrats tried to sideline the session with a rapid-fire string of objections concerning access to the nominee's records.
When Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley first tried to deliver opening remarks, Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris raised objections to the committee just receiving a batch of 42,000 documents relating to the nominee's work with past administrations.
“We cannot possibly move forward," Harris, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender, said.
Grassley told her she was "out of order," but other Democrats chimed in to back up Harris, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who moved to adjourn.
This prompted applause from some in the audience, and touched off protests and shouting. Then, after New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker added his voice complaining of a "rush," Grassley countered: “I think you are taking advantage of my decency and my integrity.”