SCOTUS Confirmation Hearing for Brett Kavanaugh Ends With More Sparks

By Rachel Alexander Published on September 8, 2018

If you enjoyed the fireworks of the first two days of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, you won’t be disappointed with the second two days. The protesters continued interrupting the proceedings regularly. The the Democratic senators joined in. 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) made a scene. He was going to commit an act of civil disobedience and release classified information — Kavanagh’s emails about racial profiling. That could get him ousted from the Senate. He said it was the closest he would come to having an “I am Spartacus moment.” Spartacus led a slave uprising against the Roman Empire. The Romans executed him for it.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) declared she too would release a classified document to the press. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he would share Booker’s punishment. Everyone wanted to be a Spartacus.

But it turned out the emails Booker had already been released at 4 a.m. that morning. They were no longer classified. His Spartacus moment was either faked or foiled.

Methodical and Comprehensive

Let’s start with Kavanaugh’s third day of testimony on Thursday. He was methodical and comprehensive in his answers. Senate Democrats did their best to trip him up but he dodged all their tricks.

For example, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tried to get Kavanaugh to defend remarks Trump had made, such as insulting SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Kavanaugh didn’t take the bait, saying he wouldn’t get into politics. Sen. Durbin repeatedly referred to Trump as an “un-indicted co-conspirator.”

Chris Coons (D-Del.) asked if Nixon violated the law or constitution when he fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Kavanaugh responded, “It violated the regulation.”

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How do we know they didn’t trip him up? The media isn’t blaring out news headlines declaring that he made a mistake.

Kavanaugh revealed some interesting things about himself. He doesn’t vote in elections, because he’s concerned about not taking sides on issues that come in front of him as a judge. He said more than once that he likes the “sunrise side of the mountain,” reflecting his optimism.

He said he will regularly play basketball on the “highest court in the land,” the basketball court on top of the Supreme Court. He said Justice Thomas was the last to regularly play but he got injured playing. … He hopes he won’t follow that precedent.

How Did He Do?

How did the not-tripped-up nominee do? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.) said he gave a “virtuoso” and “stunning” performance. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chaired the Judiciary Committee, observed that even Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) conceded that Kavanaugh was “forthcoming” in his answers.

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) accused Democrats of trying to turn the hearing into a circus.

The Democrats still weren’t happy. Sen. Booker declared that the process “is a bit of sham.” Sen. Grassley asked him, “Was it a sham when we did it for Gorsuch?” He asked if it was a sham when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) conducted the proceedings.

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) accused Democrats of trying to turn the hearing into a circus.

 

Thursday’s hearing lasted until 10 p.m.

Senators Who Love to Hear Themselves Talk

It was on to Friday. Friday’s proceedings featured a parade of witnesses testifying both for and against Kavanaugh, with questioning from various senators. Breitbart observed, “Senators who love to hear themselves talk more than others stand out.”

Witness Alicia Baker said she feared that if Kavanaugh is elected, women will not be able to get birth control because of the religious beliefs of their employers. Sen. Feinstein said she worries the country is going to go back to the days in the 1950s where women died getting illegal abortions. 

Sen. Blumenthal called it a “dark and dangerous” time for democracy. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Trump is trying to “pack the court” with “proven intolerant bigots.” He talked about “living while black” since Trump has been president. He said being African-American makes you a suspect in the age of Trump.

Breitbart observed, “Senators who love to hear themselves talk more than others stand out.”

John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel who turned against the administration during Watergate, testified that Kavanaugh would be a weak check on executive power. Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) called Dean a lying cornered rat due to his past.

Former Solicitor General Maureen Mahoney said when Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, major Supreme Court advocates almost universally believed Judge Kavanaugh was the best choice to fill his seat.

Meanwhile, protesters swamped Sen. Grassley’s office. As usual, they seemed mainly interested in preserving legal abortion. 

Protesters in Charles Grassley's office

Sen. Grassley will likely hold a vote within the committee next week. If a majority votes in favor, the full Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Sen. McConnell says he has no doubts “whatsoever” that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate and Sen. McConnell has done an excellent job previously of keeping any GOP senators from defecting on judicial nominees. The Supreme Court resumes its work on October 1.

 

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC

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