WASHINGTON - Quarreling and confusion disrupted the start of the Senateâ€™s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, with Democrats trying to block the proceedings over documents withheld by the White House while protesters interrupted the session in a persistent display of opposition.
In his opening remarks released ahead of delivery, Kavanaugh sought to tamp down the controversy over his nomination, which would likely shift the closely divided court to the right. He promised to be a â€śteam playerâ€ť if confirmed, declaring that he would be a â€śpro-law judgeâ€ť who would not decide cases based on his personal views.
But Democrats raised objections from the moment Chairman Chuck Grassley gaveled the committee to order. They want to review 100,000 documents about Kavanaughâ€™s record being withheld by the White House as well as some 42,000 documents released to the committee on a confidential basis on the eve of the hearing, along with others not sought by Republicans on the committee. For more than an hour senators sparred while protesters repeatedly shouted at them.
â€śWe have not been given an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing on this nominee,â€ť said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., made several motions to adjourn, saying if the confirmation continued, â€śthis process will be tainted and stained forever.â€ť
Grassley denied multiple requests to postpone, defending the document production as the most open in history. He said the chaotic scene was something heâ€™d â€śnever gone throughâ€ť in 15 past confirmation hearings.
More than two dozen protesters, shouting one by one, disrupted the hearing at several points and were removed by police.