Trump's Supreme Court nominee in hot seat as Democrats seek answers


Covert Affairs alumna Piper Perabo was arrested today at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings - one of dozens of protesters who were ushered out by Capitol Police after disrupting the proceedings. After hours of protests and contentious exchanges, Kavanaugh's remarks felt disingenuous and sounded flat-as though his only goal was to simply survive the hearing process. Grassley says the documents are "irrelevant" to Kavanaugh's qualifications as a judge.

As Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley began reading his opening statement, he was interrupted by Democratic Sen. Sources said that during a conference call on the eve of the hearing, Senate Democrats debated staging a mass walkout, or refusing to show up at all.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the committee, warned that Kavanaugh would tilt the high court to the right, especially on hot-button issues such as abortion and gun control.

Noting that Kavanaugh has more than 300 opinions and submitted around 17,000 pages with his committee questionnaire, Grassley is likely to stress that he's released thousands of pages and that he's only asked for non-privileged documents and that Democratic requests for every document would have taken months to complete. "They do not caucus in separate rooms", he said.

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"What is the rush?" What are we trying to hide by not having the documents out front? Cory Booker, D-N.J., said.

Kavanaugh sat patiently for almost seven hours, listening to Republican and Democrats speak for and against his joining the court before he finally got his chance to address the panel.

In each case, Kavanaugh said, he followed the law and did not let any personal or policy preferences get in his way. "I am a pro-law judge".

There were reportedly concerns that a walkout might backfire, and this way Democratic voters got to watch their senators taking on Kavanaugh, rather than staring at a half-empty chamber.

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"There will be sparks at this hearing".

"Their motives are clear", Crapo said.

The Senate is likely to vote on confirmation by the end of September. Friday will focus on panels of supporters and opponents.

Outside the hearing room at the Hart Senate Office Building, hundreds of women representing the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other national groups wore shirts reading "I am what's at stake" linked arms to express solidarity against Kavanaugh's nomination.

Kavanaugh stands to inherit Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat on the court, and there is no seat more important.

"I can't be silent when someone is nominated to the Supreme Court who would take our equal rights away".

Amid the nearly continuous disruption, Texas Republican John Cornyn said it was "the first confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court justice I've seen basically according to mob rule". Senate Republicans refused to consider Obama's nomination of federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland for the vacancy.

They plan to press Kavanaugh on abortion, gun rights and his ability to be independent of Trump, among other issues. He has served for the past 12 years on the appeals court in Washington, DC. While over 415,000 pages of documents have already been released, others are now being withheld under executive privilege.

Going into Tuesday's hearing, White House aides believe their nominee's task of introducing himself to the country hasn't been made more hard in the weeks leading up to this hearing. On Friday, the Trump administration said it would withhold more than 100,000 pages on the basis of presidential privilege. "And therefore, we are there to do our job", said Senator Mazie Hirono.

Feinstein was not reassured by Sen. "We're laboring under this disadvantage".