In a scene more reminiscent of an English soccer match and the accompanying hooligans than the U.S. Senate, the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh got off to a raucous start on Tuesday. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had not completed his first full opening sentence before being interrupted by leftist darling Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). The first hour of the hearing consisted of petty squabbling between Democrats and Grassley. In all, Democrats interrupted the first hour of the hearings nearly four dozen times.
“This is something I have never gone through before in 15 Supreme Court nominations,” Grassley said. “I was interrupted before I got a chance to say the agenda for today.”
Democrats, however, thought that the tactics were justified. “We cannot possibly move forward,” Harris said. “We have not had an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing.”
Harris and other Democrats were complaining that they had not had a chance to review 42,000 documents released the night before the hearing. Most of the documents had to do with Kavanaugh’s time as a staff secretary to President G.W. Bush, a job he held from 2003-2006. Several Democrats, including Harris, Richard Blumenthal of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, issued calls to adjourn the session.
“What are we trying to hide, why are we rushing,” asked former Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).
But Grassley was having none of it. “I think we ought to give the American people the opportunity to hear whether Judge Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court.”
Protesters frequently interrupted the hearing, shouting from the gallery repeatedly. The main topic of the protests was Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that allowed abortion in all 50 states. One protestor shouted, “More women are going to be subject to back-alley abortions!” Another shouted, “This is a mockery. This is a travesty of justice. Cancel Brett Kavanaugh, adjourn the hearing!” Capitol Police arrested at least 70 demonstrators including Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour.
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was particularly upset by the protests. “I don’t know that the committee should have to put up with this type of insolence that’s going on in this room today,” Hatch said. “These people are so out of line, they shouldn’t even be allowed in the doggone room.”
At one point, the hearings became so unruly and threatening that Kavanaugh’s wife Ashley was forced to take their daughters, Margaret 13 and Liza 10, out of the chamber. The young girls were, reportedly, frightened by the outbursts by protesters.
President Trump, who watched the hearings from the White House, didn’t stay silent, either. He tweeted on Tuesday, “The Brett Kavanaugh hearings for the future Justice of the Supreme Court are truly a display of how mean, angry and despicable the other side is. They will say anything, and are only ... looking to inflict pain and embarrassment to one of the most highly renowned jurists to ever appear before Congress. So sad to see.”
In their opening remarks, Democrats seemed completely unhinged at times. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) even linked a Kavanaugh nomination to an increase in school shootings. After claiming that there have been 273 school shootings since the Sandy Hook tragedy of December of 2012, Feinstein told Kavanaugh, “If the Supreme Court were to adopt your reasoning I fear the number of victims would continue to grow and citizens would be rendered powerless in enacting sensible gun laws.”
Feinstein’s claims are the stuff of fantasy. But her rhetoric is straight out of the Democrat playbook. Use phony statistics to tar and feather an opponent before he even has a chance to speak or defend himself in any way.
During the first day of hearings, Democrat presidential hopefuls such as Harris and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker seemed to be testing out their material and courting leftists for the 2020 election. This was not lost on Orrin Hatch.
“We have folks who want to run for president, who want their moment in the spotlight, who want that coveted TV clip,” Hatch quipped. “Frankly, I wish we could drop all the nonsense.”
While Democrats in the chamber sought to derail and defame him, Brett Kavanaugh sat quietly watching the show for most of the day. When he finally did get to speak at the end of the day, he was amazingly calm and conciliatory. “A good judge must be an umpire — a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy,” Kavanaugh said. “I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences.”
But those on the Left don’t seek impartiality. When leftists pick judges, they seek legislative allies, not someone who rules based on the merits of the case.
Photo of protester at confirmation hearing, Sept. 4: AP Images