Today saw the start of the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. So far, neither has indicated likelihood to oppose Kavanaugh. If all goes as Republicans plan, Kavanaugh could be on the bench when the court begins its new term on October 1.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says it must "never, never be viewed as a partisan institution".
Female protesters dressed as handmaids from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale lined the corridors outside the hearings, a costume choice they said alluded to Kavanaugh's "anti-abortion, anti-healthcare and anti-women" views. But the Democratic frustrations that boiled over on September 4 had been simmering for more than two years. Photos show Guttenberg extending his hand to the judge when the hearing broke for lunch and Kavanaugh immediately scurrying away.
During the hearings two starkly different images of Kavanaugh emerged.
When he does begin testifying, Kavanaugh, in his first major test as a Supreme Court nominee on Capitol Hill, is expected to tell senators that he is a "pro-law judge". I can't be silent when someone is nominated to the Supreme Court who would take our equal rights away. "We have not had an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing", Democratic Senator Kamala Harris said, while Democratic Senator Cory Booker appealed to Grassley's "sense of decency and integrity".
Committee chair, Republican Chuck Grassley, admitted he had lost control of the hearings and berated himself for not being tougher on his fellow senators.
Democrats will likely try to portray Kavanaugh as someone too tied to Trump and who will push a conservative agenda on the high court. Republicans need just 50 votes - their entire conference at the moment - to clear Kavanaugh's nomination.
There is a long history of heated fights over U.S. Supreme Court nominations, with anger in both parties. Trump's successful first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, also was a Kennedy law clerk the same year as Kavanaugh. Garland is the chief judge of the appeals court on which Kavanaugh has served.
The partisan infighting over the seemingly mundane topic of document release isn't new; its been the primary focus for Senate Democrats, led by minority leader Chuck Schumer, for almost two months.
Kavanaugh has been prepping intensively in recent weeks but he held his last, full-day mock hearing last Monday, the White House aide said. Her exit was followed by that of two other women, according to another video shared by another activist, Fox News reported. Several Democrats said only about 10% of Kavanaugh's records have been released, and that they wouldn't hire even an intern with that incomplete of a resume.