Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Hearing: A Chaotic Start And A Revealing Moment

Democrats showcased their spines and Kavanaugh subtly showcased his character.

Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jamie Guttenberg who was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., left, attempts to shake hands with President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, right, as he leaves for a lunch break while appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, to begin his confirmation to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh did not shake his hand. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jamie Guttenberg who was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., left, attempts to shake hands with President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, right, as he leaves for a lunch break while appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, to begin his confirmation to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh did not shake his hand. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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.

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.

And later in the night, we learned even more…

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.

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Rundown // Brett Kavanaugh / Donald Trump / Journalism / News / Supreme Court