The first day of confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, could just as well have been held in a bar instead of the U.S. Senate.
It was a raucous affair with people yelling, holding up placards, and a succession of Democrat senators (in a carefully orchestrated bit of theater) interrupting Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley demanding that the hearing be adjourned before he could even get the inquiry underway.
“This is the first confirmation for a Supreme Court justice I’ve seen, basically, according to mob rule,” Republican Senator John Cornyn said.
Democrats charged that documents about Kavanaugh’s past had been withheld. Never mind that every Democrat on the committee has already said they will vote “No” on the Kavanaugh confirmation. They still wanted the documents “even if we are voting no; the American people have a right to see them.”
Republicans have said Democrats have more than enough documents (500,000 at last count) to assess Kavanaugh’s record, including his 12 years of judicial opinions as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Democrats said the raucous disorderly and often harsh hearing was “democracy in action.”
To me, it looked like something akin to a bar fight waiting to happen. Insults flew back and forth between the left and the right, and more than 60 protestors were escorted from the hearing room and charged with disorderly conduct. Thank God no alcohol was being served or we might have seen flying chairs and beer bottles.
Is this American democracy in action? Some may say yes, but it didn’t seem that way to me.
The intensity of the disrespect, name-calling, and anger was so palpable and vicious that at one point Kavanaugh’s children were hustled out of the room. What a pitiable lesson about America’s representative form of government his daughters witnessed. How delightful it must have been for them to see their father insulted and vilified by obstreperous protestors and mean-minded Democrats in their bombastic opening statements.
During the first break, Judge Kavanaugh was approached from behind by a man holding out his hand. Security quickly hustled the judge away from the man, who we later learned was the father of one of the 17 victims in the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida shootings.
Naturally, the incident was quickly politicized when the father, Fred Guttenberg, tweeted that the judge pulled away because “he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence.”
In fact, Judge Kavanaugh had no idea who Guttenberg was or what his motive was in rushing after him. His security detail did the right thing in stepping between the two and ushering Kavanaugh out of the room.
Another father, Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was killed in the Parkland shooting, accused Guttenberg of “weaponizing Parkland to advance a dangerous political agenda.”
“Judge Kavanaugh was not responsible for the Parkland school shooting that killed my daughter,” Pollack tweeted. “Judge Kavanaugh is a decent man and should be confirmed.”
The hearing lasted seven hours, and I watched almost all of it—much to my dismay.
Today, the Q & A session begins. I wonder what kind of Guerilla Theater we will be treated to.
One thing is for sure; it will not be the kind of democratic process I learned about in any of my civics classes. Judge Kavanaugh should wear a Kevlar vest during the remainder of these alleged hearings.
[Stay tuned. I will be posting on the rest of this circus]