The first day of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing came in like a lion, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley enduring an “unprecedented” series of demonstrations and disruptions from screaming pro-abortion protestors in the audience, and insults and interruptions from most of the Democratic Senators on the committee. Reportedly, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer convened a call over the weekend to coordinate a wave of objections from minority members calculated to overwhelm the decorum of the panel and create the appearance of a unified opposition objecting to a “rush to judgment” without enough documentation to consider the nominee. This is a patently false “big lie,” since the committee sought and obtained five times more paperwork for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination than for the past five Supreme Court nominations combined.
Chairman Grassley seemed to struggle to keep control of the hearing; later he admitted that “I’ve let the Committee run me.” Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) visibly lost composure when a screamer called out (what they were screaming was never clear), and he urged Capitol Police to remove “that loudmouth.” The Democrats, on the other hand, seemed to consider it the day’s fare; Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois even called the protests “the noise of democracy.”
Here is a slice of the chaos, for what it’s worth.
Finally, at the very end of the day, Judge Kavanaugh gave his opening statement. He began by paying homage to his father, and to retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom he called “a mentor, a friend, and a hero.” Justice Kennedy, he noted, was “a model of civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the Judiciary. And he was a champion of liberty.” Judge Kavanaugh took the opportunity to return to his commitment to serve as “an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy,” and he promised not to decide cases “based on personal or policy preferences.”
The hearing will resume Wednesday morning at 9:30 with questions to the nominee. Perhaps by the end of the week, the hearing will go out like a lamb and, as Sen. Ted Cruz said (quoting the Bard), all of this will end up as nothing more than “Sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Despite the onslaught of personal and professional attacks thrown his way, Judge Kavanaugh was unruffled throughout. We should all emulate his example.