Democrats Interrupt Kavanaugh Hearing at Its Onset, Press for Delay

September 4, 2018

Senate Democrats interrupted the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh only seconds after it began Tuesday.

Several Democratic Senators began yelling at Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) just as he attempted to begin welcoming those in attendance.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) began the interruption after Grassley had been speaking for about six seconds. She, along with several others, demanded the hearing be adjourned.

Protesters in the hearing room also began yelling and screaming at times, especially after Democrats spoke. The U.S. Capitol Police removed disruptive attendees from the room as they attempted to maintain order among the audience.

"We dissent! Vote no! Vote no!" one said.

Some of the Democrats complained about having recently received documents and having not received enough time to review the documents, and Grassley said they had enough time. Kavanaugh briefly had a moment to speak and introduce his family, the New York Times reported.

Mr. Grassley argued that the committee has received "more materials on Judge Kavanaugh than we have had on any Supreme Court nominee in history."

He said Republican aides have already reviewed the 42,000 documents that arrived Monday night. "That’s no reason to delay the hearing."

Democrats quieted down — temporarily — and the hearing appeared to be getting underway with Judge Kavanaugh introducing his family — including his wife, his parents, an aunt and uncle and cousins.

But as soon as he finished, Democrats renewed their request to delay the hearing.

A couple Republican senators spoke supporting Grassley and criticizing Democrats. Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) equated Democrats' actions with being in contempt of court in a courtroom.

NBC News reporters Kasie Hunt and Frank Thorp tweeted that Democrats had coordinated the protest strategy over Labor Day weekend. Hunt said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) "led a phone call and committee members are executing now."

Kavanaugh silently sat in his seat before the committee with his family sitting behind him. None of the Democrats' questions were directed toward Kavanaugh, only toward Grassley.

The time between Kavanaugh's nomination by President Donald Trump to the beginning of the confirmation hearings is one of the longest in recent history.