One word keeps showing up in coverage of the first day of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing: "chaos." (See here, here, and here.) Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas had a stronger phrase: "mob rule," while Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois heard the "noise of democracy." Democrats were staging a unified front to try to keep the hearing from proceeding, angry about withheld documents from Kavanaugh's past, including his tenure in the George W. Bush White House. The release of more than 40,000 documents Monday night seems to have only made things worse, with Democrats arguing that it was humanly impossible to review them in time. Despite the Democrats' protests, Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley says he will not stop the hearing, which is expected to last four days, reports Politico. Other developments:
- Arrests: Capitol Police arrested 22 protesters on disorderly conduct charges during the morning, reports the Washington Post.
- Handmaid's Tale: Women dressed as characters from the Handmaid's Tale were among the protesters outside the hearing room, notes the Huffington Post. See an image here. The costumes illustrate their concerns that Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court will be a setback for women's rights.
- Roe v. Wade: When the direct questions finally begin, Democrats are expected to press Kavanaugh on whether he'd be willing to overturn the ruling that legalized abortion, reports the New York Times. The question, said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is not whether he believes that Roe v. Wade is “settled law,” but “whether you believe it is the correct law.” The judge's views on executive power and gun control also were expected to be examined.
- 2 views: The interruptions and chaos are about "Democratic senators trying to re-litigate the 2016 election and just as importantly, working to begin litigating the 2020 presidential election," said Republican Ted Cruz, per the AP. But Democrat Patrick Leahy wondered, “What are we trying to hide? Why are we rushing?”
- Excerpts: Read excerpts of Kavanaugh's eventual opening statement here via MarketWatch. "A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy," Kavanaugh is to say. "I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge."
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