President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hangs in the balance as he appeared for day one of his Senate hearing — and along with it, hangs the fate of American generations over issues like abortion rights and same-sex marriages.
The Senate hearing, as expected, was chaotic: From accusations of buried information from Democratic Senators to shouting protestors.
Kavanaugh, however, seemed rather unperturbed, vowing to be impartial and fair, if confirmed.
While the Senate awaits the confirmation vote, it is highly unlikely Kavanaugh will face any problems bagging the seat in the Supreme Court as Republicans enjoy a 51-49 majority in the Senate.
Trump’s nomination for Kavanaugh raised many substantial issues, the most glaring of them: the overturning of Roe V. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court decision, which essentially provided women with abortion rights.
With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, many worried his absence as a swing vote would put the future of women right’s in jeopardy.
Democrats, who are in minority and not in a strong position to stop the confirmation, demanded Kavanaugh slow down his confirmation process, until all his documents from the George W. Bush era are released.
Democrats also demanded time to review the pile of 42,000 dumped on them hours before the hearing.
"For the sake of this nation, for the sanctity of the Constitution that we both honor, step up, ask this meeting, this gathering to suspend until all the documents of your public career are there for the American people to see,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)said.
The GOP's hurry to confirm Kavanaugh is in huge contrast with their prior stance on confirmation hearings and Democrats are simply asking for time to review documents. If precedent is to be followed, the Senate must also delay any decision on Kavanaugh until after the midterms because current Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) stonewalled Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland during former President Barack Obama’s tenure, for exactly the same reason.
“We waited for more than a year with a vacancy on the Supreme Court under the direction of your leader in the United States Senate, and the republic survived,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told an increasingly frustrated Judiciary Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). “The fact that we cannot take a few days or weeks to have a complete review of Judge Kavanaugh’s record is unfair to the American people, it is inconsistent to our responsibility under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution to advise and consent on ... court nominees.”
"What are we trying to hide, why are we rushing?" Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked in the beginning of the hearing.
Grassley, however, paid no heed to Democratic demands.
"This is something I have never gone through before in 15 Supreme Court nominations. I was interrupted before I got a chance to say the agenda for today," said Grassley.
Capitol police arrested 70 protestors as the hearing commenced. A group of female protestors solemnly stood over a balcony, donning Handmaid Tale’s costumes, a nod to the future of Roe V. Wade and women rights as Kavanaugh’s confirmation looms closer — a confirmation which would indeed be a huge victory for Trump.
Trump also took to Twitter to blast the Democrats for trying to delay the confirmation.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings for the future Justice of the Supreme Court are truly a display of how mean, angry, and despicable the other side is. They will say anything, and are only....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2018
....looking to inflict pain and embarrassment to one of the most highly renowned jurists to ever appear before Congress. So sad to see!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2018
Kavanaugh, when he finally got the chance to speak, promised to not be influenced by any “litigant or policy." He said Supreme Court should never be viewed as a “partisan institution” and a good judge should act like an umpire.
He also had positive words to say for Kennedy, whose retirement opened up the vacancy that could, possibly, if not certainly, be captured by Kavanaugh.
"As Justice Kennedy showed us, a judge must be independent, not swayed by public pressure. Our independent Judiciary is the crown jewel of our Constitutional republic" Kavanaugh said. "If confirmed to the Supreme Court, I would be part of a Team of Nine, committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States. I would always strive to be a team player on the Team of Nine."
During the hearing, Kavanaugh snubbed Fred Guttenberg, who approached the judge to try and shake his hand and talk about his experience after losing his daughter Jaime Guttenberg in the Parkland school shooting.
The hearing will proceed the following day with questions from Senators.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS