Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Hearing: A Chaotic Start And A Revealing Moment
The Rantt Rundown: Day 593 of the Trump presidency
The Lede: Day one of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court was chaotic, to say the least. Right as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-IA) moves to begin, Democrats interjected and made motions to adjourn the hearing, pointing to the thousands of documents that have yet to be reviewed. This request was met with applause.
KAMALA HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, the committee received 42,000 pages of documents LAST NIGHT that we have not been able tor review or analyze.
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: If we cannot be recognized, I move to adjourn.
SHUT. IT. DOWN.#BlockBrettpic.twitter.com/3mDDewyk4f
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) September 4, 2018
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) continued to bring up the motion at various points throughout the hearing which was backed by other Democrats. Ultimately, of course, Democrats did not get their wish.
Nonetheless, Democrats successfully delayed much of the hearing with long-winded speeches blasting Kavanaugh on the merits of his rulings, writings, and beliefs. Presidential hopefuls like Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) especially shined. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) made salient points. Protestors also made multiple appearances that were impossible to ignore. Republican Senators fell in line behind Kavanaugh, but interestingly Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)—who is not seeking reelection and has been a critic of President Trump—seconded Democrats concerns about Trump’s threats to the rule of law and democratic norms. For more on the specifics of the hearing, read this great piece from Vox.
One of the most revealing moments about Kavanaugh’s character that has gotten a lot of attention didn’t happen while the hearing was in session.
Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as morning session ended. Put out my hand to introduce myself as Jaime Guttenberg’s dad. He pulled his hand back, turned his back to me and walked away. I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence.
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) September 4, 2018
Wow, here you can hear @fred_guttenberg telling Kavanaugh that his daughter “was murdered in Parkland,” and Kavanaugh whirls and walks away pic.twitter.com/VdkTij2Vdp
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) September 4, 2018
And later in the night, we learned even more…
Father of Slain Parkland Teen (Fred Guttenberg) Says Not Only Did Kavanaugh Turn Away As Soon As He Mentioned His Murdered Daughter. But Kavanaugh Himself Asked Security to Remove Guttenberg and ID’d Him to Security By the Bracelets He Wears for His Daughter. pic.twitter.com/7MD66IBLk3
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 5, 2018
The Context: Kavanaugh’s confirmation would tip the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation, and will have wide-ranging ramifications for women’s reproductive rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, human rights in general, healthcare (pre-existing conditions), as well as the rule of law. The Supreme Court will likely have to make key decisions on the extent of presidential power, with rulings surrounding pardon power, compliance with subpoenas, and presidential immunity. Given how consequential Nixon v. United States was, this pick will likely determine the legal liability of President Trump. Given the fact President Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator in two felony counts, these are worthy concerns. For more on Kavanaugh’s record, including his time working on the Ken Starr investigation of Bill Clinton, his thoughts on Roe v. Wade, and the fact he argued the President should be above the law, read this.
The Analysis: From the unrelenting protests to the fiery rhetoric from Democrats, this was widely seen as the most contentious Supreme Court hearing in recent memory. The Democrats showed up and showed their spines. Obviously, they do not have the votes to block this nominee but they’re putting up one hell of a fight. After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stole this Supreme Court seat from Merrick Garland, many among the Democratic base have demanded that their elected leaders put up a fight no matter the odds. They got what they wanted. As for Kavanaugh, he’ll likely be confirmed. But that image of him denying the handshake of Parkland father Fred Guttenberg will haunt him throughout his career. And as for the rule of law, Roe v. Wade, healthcare, etc…the future in a post-Justice Kavanaugh world is uncertain.
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency
- The New York Times: Mueller Will Accept Some Written Answers From Trump
- The New York Times: Jon Kyl, Former Senator, Will Replace McCain in Arizona
- The New Yorker: How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump’s Clown
- The Washington Post: 10-term Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) concedes to Ayanna Pressley, who waged a primary challenge from the left