The Senate Judiciary Committee commenced its hearing for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination on Tuesday morning. If the mutinous beginning of the proceedings was any indication, this may be one of the most contentious nomination hearings for the high court in recent memory.
Right before committee chairman Chuck Grassley tried to get the ball rolling with opening statements, Senate Democrats launched a coordinated effort to postpone the proceedings, arguing that they have not had enough time to review the 42,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s tenure in the White House Counsel’s office during George W. Bush’s administration. A lawyer for Bush dumped the trove of documents hours before the hearings. Protestors, who have been gathering in and around the hearing room throughout the morning, piled on to the disruption by shouting in support of the Democratic senators. Capitol police had to apprehend the protestors and lead them out of the court room before Grassley could proceed with the opening statements.
Liberals have been wringing their hands about the nomination since former Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in June. That consternation only intensified after President Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination in July, as legal analysts predict that the conservative judge could help to overturn Roe v. Wade, strike down basic campaign finance limits, and perhaps even protect Trump from oversight. Democrats have been calling for the hearings to be stalled given the president’s implication in a criminal conspiracy, but to no avail.
You can watch a livestream of the hearing here:
One more thing
If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.Join Slate Plus