WASHINGTON -- Sparks flew at day one of the confirmation hearing for the president’s latest Supreme Court nominee, as Democrats and Republicans sparred over whether they can properly vet Brett Kavanaugh.
- Brett Kavanaugh is nominated to the Supreme Court
- Democrats say they deserve more time to pour over thousands of documents
- Almost 70 protesters ejected from the hearing
For more than an hour, Democrats and Republicans clashed, speaking over each other and delaying opening statements.
Democrats called to adjourn, saying they need to know more about Brett Kavanaugh before they can proceed.
Added to that, police pulled more than 60 protesters out of the hearing room for “unlawful demonstration.” Many shouted at lawmakers, as police escorted them outside.
President Donald Trump introduced Kavanaugh as his nominee in July, marking his second nomination for the nation’s top bench.
Since then, Democrats have argued they need access to documents tied to Kavanaugh’s time serving in the White House of President George W. Bush.
“Thirty-five months of public service … the documents of that service cannot even be considered,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
Republicans like North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis, meanwhile, accused Democrats of trying to stall the inevitable.
“They only need to run up the score because they already know they’re going to vote against you,” he said.
If Republicans stick together, they have enough votes to confirm Kavanaugh without any Democratic support. Republican leaders hope to have him confirmed and on the bench before the start of the Supreme Court’s fall term.
The hearing is expected to go on for the rest of the week, with lawmakers getting a chance to question Kavanaugh. Expect them to ask about his views on Roe v. Wade and whether he believes a president should be investigated or even prosecuted.
Kavanaugh did try to address those concerns during his opening statement at the end of the first day.
“If confirmed to the Supreme Court, I will keep an open mind in every case. I will do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” he said.
However, whether that will be enough to appease Democrats – especially those from red states – remains the big question.
UPDATES from our Spectrum News team in Washington, D.C.