As more than 30 people were dragged away in handcuffs on Tuesday for protesting during the confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, critics of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded a comparable show of courage and called on those lawmakers—who failed to win a delay of the proceedings—to simply end their participation and walk out.
It’s clear the GOP has the votes (unfortunately), and is willingly conducting this process in a completely corrupt manner. Democrats should walk out and not participate. His appointment, for numerous reasons, is illegitimate. Why legitimate the process by participating?
— Jones (@DetectiveJonesy) September 4, 2018
"Women are disrupting this hearing today because our lives are at risk. Women will die if Kavanaugh is confirmed," said Rachel O'Leary Carmona of the Women's March, whose members were among those who disrupted the hearing, in an emailed statement. "Politicians on both sides of the aisle need to know—if you don't stop Kavanaugh, we will make you pay in November and in 2020. If you're a Democrat, we'll primary you—if you're a Republican, your seat will be flipped. The gloves are off, the rings are on, and we’re ready to resist the fight that chose us."
When the proceedings commenced at 9:00am, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) interrupted Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, to request that the hearing be postponed, citing the extremely late release of 42,000 pages of documents regarding Kavanaugh's time working in the George W. Bush administration. The records were released on Monday giving the panel a matter of hours to review them, after the White House had earlier claimed executive privilege in holding back 100,000 pages of records.
Harris's objections were followed by those of Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who asked that the meeting be adjourned, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and other Democrats—eliciting some hope from Trump critics that the party might successfully stand up against the Republican attempt to ram through Kavanaugh's confirmation.
If Democrats can keep this up for the entire hearing, that's great. If not, they should just walk out. https://t.co/cxEZIdA78C
— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) September 4, 2018
At long last, Senate Democrats showed some spine this morning.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) September 4, 2018
But those hopes were largely dashed when it became increasingly clear that the Democrats were not prepared for what would happen if Grassley refused to heed their calls, as he predictably did. The acquiescence was led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who ended the series of objections by delivering her prepared opening statement. The hearing then proceeded, albeit with some Democrats continuing to express their objections.
While progressives expressed disgust that too many Democrats appear ready to fold on Kavanaugh, it was some longtime Republicans who also called out the party for being political feeble in the face of the unprecedented process.
On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," former staffer to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Steve Schmidt remarked, "It seems Democrats are absolutely determined to bring butter knives to every gunfight forever," while host Joe Scarborough agreed the party was apparently "just quietly marching in line."
"This process is illegitimate," Scarborough said. "No judge in America would allow an opposing side to dump 150,000 documents on another party in a lawsuit the day before hearings started or a trial is started. I'm completely baffled. Why do Democrats—why are they even showing up? They should not show up."
On social media, critics demanded that Harris, Booker, and the other Democrats on the committee make a far stronger statement by refusing to continue the hearing and walking out.
Grassley loses his shit and demands that the Democrats answer how long they want to go on like this and tells them he won't address any of their motions. The Democrats should get up and walk the fuck out. #BrettKavanaugh
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) September 4, 2018
These aren’t normal times. Democrats need to stop acting like they are.
WALK THE FUCK OUT. #KavanaughConfirmationHearing
— Imani Gandy o—€ (@AngryBlackLady) September 4, 2018
ALL Senate Democrats must stand up and walk out en masse! Do not participate, show us and the world the illegality of Kavanaugh. WALK OUT! #StopKavanaugh @SenateDems @SenKamalaHarris @SenWarren @SenSanders @SenGillibrand @SenatorDurbin
— J (@jaxearth) September 4, 2018
They could walk out, they could refuse to allow the committee to proceed until the vote to adjourn is made.
Democrats practicing "decorum" in the face of this mawkish bullshit is not only weak, it's stupid.
Fucking grow a spine.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) September 4, 2018
As the hearing proceeded, Democrats including Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) spoke out against Kavanaugh's views on the president's "immunity from the law" and the "35-month black hole" in his record due to the withholding of the documents.
But critics held that continuing with the hearing at all was a betrayal of constituents who are counting on Democratic senators to serve their interests—as Republicans went to extreme lengths to block President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, from even having a confirmation hearing in 2016 in order to serve their party's interests.
While you're watching Kavanaugh hearings just remember Merrick Garland was one of most qualified nominees in SCOTUS history & Republicans refused to even give him a hearing
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) September 4, 2018