On Tuesday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his first round of testimony as part of his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump. And almost immediately, the entire proceedings went completely off the rails.
In addition to the requisite cadre of protestors who repeatedly interrupted the opening moments of the hearing, Senate Democrats launched a full court press to temporarily delay the proceedings, citing Monday night’s dump of approximately 40,000 previously unreleased documents from Kavanaugh’s time as the staff secretary to former President George W. Bush.
Of the Democrats who suddenly found their spines, perhaps none spoke more forcefully than New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who cited Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley’s own statements, as well as his “sense of fairness and decency,” as reason to delay the hearings.
“You’re rushing through this process in a way that’s unnecessary,” Booker said, while Grassley repeatedly banged his gavel in a half-hearted attempt to silence any dissent.
Booker wasn’t alone among the committee’s Democrats in his frustration. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy echoed Booker’s concerns, asking pointedly, “Why are we rushing?” Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, meanwhile, criticized Republican demands that senators pre-submit their questions and accompanying documents to the committee before they are allowed into the record.
As the Democrats continued their lockstep opposition to the hearing, Republican Senator John Cornyn compared the proceedings to “mob rule”—a sentiment Grassley himself took umbrage with during a scolding monologue against the delays, despite the fact that the charge came from a fellow Republican amidst a Republican-chaired session while Republicans control both houses of Congress.
While it’s heartening to see Senate Democrats finally put their feet down and actually bring some righteous anger to a hearing for yet another Trump nominee, Grassley was likely right when he responded to the onslaught of criticism by saying that, at the end of the day, he expects Kavanaugh to be the next member of the Supreme Court.
Still, if the Democrats can keep this going, maybe there’s hope yet.