At this morning's circus in the Senate Judiciary Committee -- during which Democratic members launched dozens of interruptions, and a seemingly endless string of shrieking left-wing protesters were dragged out of the room -- the opposition focused the bulk of their complaints on documents being withheld from the committee (here's some useful context on that). Some of their points actually seemed relatively fair and reasonable, and I think the administration erred by dropping thousands of previously-unseen documents the day before the hearings began. Other objections seemed more contrived and cynical.
What was particularly difficult to take seriously were supposedly good-faith demands for more time and more documents, offered by Senators who've already stated their opposition to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. The three members who led the charge with the most interruptions (two of whom just happen to be presidential aspirants) were Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who repeatedly lied about serving in Vietnam. Were any of these three genuinely interested in reviewing additional materials, in order to learn more about the nominee and his record? Their own public statements suggest not.
Sen. Booker infamously stated that Republicans supporting Kavanaugh's confirmation are "complicit in evil." In a July press release, issued long before the specifics of document production could be marshaled as a pretense, Booker declared himself "strongly opposed" to Kavanaugh. "I will fight to stop this nomination every step of the way,” he wrote. Best of all, and as I noted earlier, literally as he was feigning interest in a thorough review process at today's hearing, the Democrats blasted out an email under Booker's name that gave up the game. What impeccable timing:
(1) Booker at the Kavanaugh hearing: We just need more time to carefully consider this nomination. What’s the Rush?— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 4, 2018
(2) Inbox, moments ago: pic.twitter.com/GUj7NIyf9B
Sen. Harris, for her part, was opposed to the Kavanaugh nomination before it was announced (as was another of her colleagues who interrupted today's hearings with gripes about procedure). After Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, Harris proclaimed that with another Trump appointee on the Court, "we're looking at the destruction of the constitution." In her own early July press release -- again, issued prior to any of the issues presently being cited as the basis for procedural complaints -- she wrote that "Judge Brett Kavanaugh represents a direct and fundamental threat to [America's] promise of equality and so I will oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court.” And Sen. Blumenthal, who mounted what appeared to be a calm and collected appeal for additional time and more files in order to facilitate a more "deliberative" and "thoughtful" assessment, also announced his verdict nearly two months ago: "Judge Kavanaugh, you don’t belong in this building as a justice. Judge Kavanaugh, you should not be serving in this building as a Supreme Court justice," he intoned at a partisan rally. And lest anyone missed his meaning, Blumenthal was also quoted as saying, "I will be a 'no' on this nominee." In this case, he's almost certainly telling the truth, very much unlike his numerous shameless lies about his own military service.
Meanwhile, we've also learned that in spite of Democrats' many protestations about the majority's eleventh-hour document dump, the plot to interrupt and derail the hearing was hatched before that dispute arose and became their "hook." This was a Schumer strategy, cooked up over the weekend:
Democrats plotted coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and all agreed to disrupt and protest the hearing, sources tell me and @frankthorp— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) September 4, 2018
Dem leader @chuckschumer led a phone call and committee members are executing now
As Senators on both sides of the aisle drone on with opening statements throughout the day, this bottom line takeaway is the most important:
Brett #Kavanaugh spent 12 years on the second-most influential court in the US, writing ~300 opinions--13 of which #SCOTUS adopted & only one reversed--all in his own name. The allegation there is not sufficient evidence for the Senate to advise on his nomination is nonsense.— Ryan Fazio (@ryanfazio) September 4, 2018
Exactly right. The documents Democrats are seeking are almost entirely from Kavanaugh's time as a paper-pushing staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House (I'd also note that the documents that have been provided exceed the number of documents furnished by the last five SCOTUS nominees combined, and that zero of Elena Kagan's Solicitor General records were released while her nomination was under consideration). He was confirmed to the prestigious and important DC Circuit Court of Appeals a little over a dozen years ago (with 57 votes) -- after his time in the White House. A substantial majority of the US Senate deemed him fit to serve in that critical role at the time, despite critiques from Democrats that he was too young and inexperienced for the job. Those reservations clearly no longer apply, given his vast record as a federal judge. But rather than focusing, appropriately, on Kavanaugh's decade-plus on the bench, Democrats are now choosing to fixate on what might lurk in memos written by other people that crossed his desk years before he was confirmed to his current job. There's a reason for that. I'll leave you with this:
Politico/Morning Consult poll: Public support for Kavanaugh confirmation at (+8): https://t.co/EDR9mXsVNa— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 4, 2018
That percentage us significantly higher & a potent issue in red states like ND, IN, WV, MO: https://t.co/UIdrTIPU9r