Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing quickly devolved into chaos Tuesday morning as Democratic senators and protesters in the audience attempted to derail the hearing altogether.
The interruptions began less than a few minutes into the hearing, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) inquiring about the 42,000 documents pertaining to Kavanaugh’s record that senators received just the night before.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) quickly chimed in and asked Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to end the hearing, calling it a “charade” and a “mockery of our norms.”
Grassley rebuffed Blumenthal almost immediately, prompting Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to rail against Grassley for holding Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing while the Trump administration blocks efforts to release 100,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s service in the Bush White House as a lawyer and staff secretary.
“What is the rush? What are we trying to hide by not having the documents out front?” Booker said.
Democrats have said that the committee should not move forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination until his full record is produced to the Senate.
Moments later, demonstrators inside the room were shouting at Grassley, making it nearly impossible for those inside the room and watching on television to hear him.
Linda Sarsour, an activist and one of the organizers of the Women’s March, stood up and began protesting.
“This is a mockery and a travesty of justice,” she yelled, as a Capitol Police officer warned her in a low tone. “This is a travesty of justice.”
She was quickly joined by several more women, all of whom were quickly removed by Capitol Police officers. Less than an hour into the hearing, 22 people were arrested.
In a particularly heated moment, Booker appealed to Grassley’s “sense of decency and integrity.” Grassley shot back: “I think you are taking advantage of my decency and my integrity.”
Democrats had coordinated their efforts to derail the hearing, with one tag-teaming after the other to appeal to Grassley to end the hearing. Democratic sources told The Daily Beast that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a conference call over the weekend with the members in order to plan the disruptions.
Grassley, who has touted the committee’s efforts to release hundreds of thousands of documents about Kavanaugh, vowed to remain in session for as long as it takes for the entire process to be completed.