The Democrats’ Political Theater

A Look Back at Democrats’ Conduct During Judge Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearings


“[F]rom liberal protesters caterwauling to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) urging Kavanaugh to suspend his own hearing … one has to wonder: Was the chaos merely political theater? There’s plenty of evidence that it was, starting with a call that Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, allegedly placed to Democratic members of the committee over the weekend, encouraging them to join together in a mutual (but most likely futile) effort at obstruction.” (Damon Linker, “The Grandstanding Theatricality Of The Kavanaugh Hearings,” The Week, 7/05/2018)


Senate Democrats Cheered On The Protests And Disruptions…

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “What we’ve heard is the noise of democracy.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 9/04/2018)

“@SenWarren stopping by Hart atrium to thank protesters” (Demand Justice’s Diana Bowen, @DianaBowen, Twitter, 9/04/2018)

Sen. Gillibrand also met with protesters to thank them: SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): “And I appreciate the fact that you are wearing those t-shirts that say ‘I am what is at stake’ …” (Sen. Gillibrand, @gillibrandny, Twitter, 9/04/2018)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): “I want to thank the many, many Americans who are paying attention to this hearing, not only in this room but also across the country. I want to thank them for their interest and indeed their passion. That is what sustains democracy … There is a t-shirt worn by a number of folks walking around this building. It says, ‘I am what’s at stake.’” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 9/04/2018)

“[Winnie] Wong [senior adviser to the Women’s March] said that she felt like her group had advocates in the hearing room on the dais, mentioning specifically Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.” (“Meet The Protesters Interrupting Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing,” CNN, 9/05/2018)


…And Did Some Of Their Own Protesting And Disrupting

“Spoiling for a fight, some Democratic senators weighing 2020 presidential campaigns seized upon the opening moments of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday … One by one, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey, demanded that Republicans delay Kavanaugh’s hearing …” (“Potential 2020 Democrats Seize On Kavanaugh Senate Hearings,” The Associated Press, 9/04/2018)

NBC’S KASIE HUNT: “Democrats plotted coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and all agreed to disrupt and protest the hearing, sources tell me…. Dem leader @chuckschumer led a phone call and committee members are executing now” (NBC’s Kasie Hunt, @kasie, Twitter, 9/04/2018)

  • “[Sen. Chuck] Schumer [D-NY] objected to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) request that the Judiciary Committee be allowed to continue its confirmation hearing … Such requests are usually granted routinely, but Schumer balked … McConnell decided to adjourn the Senate for the day to get around Schumer’s objection.” (“Democrats Force Senate To Adjourn To Protest Kavanaugh,” The Hill, 9/05/2018)

“Democratic senators opened Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing with an aggressive approach Tuesday, pushing to postpone the hearing and repeatedly interrupting the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman …” (“How Democrats Coordinated A Tense Start To Kavanaugh Hearing,” CNN, 9/04/2018)

  • “Democrats continued to insist on a vote on their motions as the hearing veered seriously off track for more than an hour …” (The Washington Post, 9/04/2018)
  • “[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck] Grassley hadn’t even introduced Kavanaugh by name when [Sen. Kamala] Harris [D-CA] interjected … As Grassley tried to introduce Kavanaugh, [Sen. Amy] Klobuchar [D-MN] called for the hearing to be postponed as the two senators attempted to talk over each other. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., jumped in, asking that the hearing be adjourned, prompting loud cheers and applause in the room….” (“Potential 2020 Democrats Seize On Kavanaugh Senate Hearings,” The Associated Press, 9/04/2018)


‘A Nationwide Campaign To Disrupt The Confirmation Process’

Around 70 people were arrested ‘for outbursts and disruptions’ during each of the first 3 days of the Judiciary Committee hearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. (“Protesters Urged To Disrupt Brett Kavanaugh Hearings: ‘These Are Not Normal Times,’” USA Today, 9/05/2018; “Capitol Police Arrest 73 In Kavanaugh Protests Wednesday,” Washington Examiner, 9/05/2018; “69 Protesters Arrested on Day 3 of Kavanaugh Hearing,” Roll Call, 9/06/2018)

“The protesters are part of a nationwide campaign to disrupt the confirmation process…. "My goal is for this nomination to not go through," said Alison Dreith, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, who was one of the people arrested Tuesday…. Dreith acknowledged that the numbers are on Kavanaugh’s side but said she and other protesters are hoping to bolster Democrats on the committee …” (“Shout, Arrest, Repeat: Inside The Kavanaugh Hearing Protests,” The Associated Press, 9/05/2018)

  • “Soon after the Kavanaugh hearings were scheduled, the Center for Popular Democracy Action worked with other advocacy groups, including the Women’s March, Ultraviolet and NARAL, to urge supporters to flood the capital, Epps-Addison said…. Rachel O’Leary Carmona, chief operating officer of the Women’s March, confirmed that her group had coordinated a plan to disrupt the hearings. That included offering lodging to traveling protestors and ‘jail and bail support,’ if necessary.” (“Protesters Urged To Disrupt Brett Kavanaugh Hearings: ‘These Are Not Normal Times,’” USA Today, 9/05/2018)

“‘This is well-organized and scripted. This isn’t chaos,’ Wong said outside the hearing rooms.” (“Meet The Protesters Interrupting Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing,” CNN, 9/05/2018)

  • “Carla from Silver Spring, Maryland, who did not share her last name, donned her red cape and white bonnet on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest Kavanaugh’s nomination. She told CNN that their group was organized by Demand Justice, a liberal advocacy group…. She indicated that later in the day she planned to take off her outfit to go inside the hearing room to protest. ‘I’m hoping I get arrested,’ she said.” (“Meet The Protesters Interrupting Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing,” CNN, 9/05/2018)

DEMAND JUSTICE’S BRIAN FALLON: “The protesters are all heroes.” (Brian Fallon, @brianefallon, Twitter, 9/04/2018)



Related Issues: Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations, Senate Democrats