Senate Democrats were able Thursday to delay for a week the Senate Judiciary Committee vote originally set to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate for a final decision.
The Democrats’ use of a procedural rule to delay things merely puts off what is expected to be a party-line 11-10 vote in support of favorably reporting Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor. The panel’s vote will now take place September 20.
President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh July 9 to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), immediately announced plans to fight the nomination.
Democrats have repeatedly argued the process should be delayed because they aren’t getting enough records and the president is under investigation in the Russia collusion scandal.
At the heart of their delay demands are an estimated 1 million documents from Kavanaugh’s time working in the White House for then-President George W. Bush. Many of those documents are exempted from disclosure on executive privilege and national security grounds.
Democrats on the judiciary panel, joined by far-Left protesters in the audience, seriously disrupted the first day of Kavanaugh’s September 4 confirmation hearing, but failed to force it to be rescheduled. The audience protests continued throughout the four-day hearing.
Republicans argued the disruptions and document demands were intended to delay the nomination past the November midterm elections, in which Democrats hope to regain a Senate majority and thus the ability to scuttle Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, claims Kavanaugh submitted the most robust bipartisan committee questionnaire ever by a judicial nominee, at roughly 17,000 pages. Grassley also contends that the committee has been getting a record number of documents, with 200,000 pages of executive branch materials already being made public.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and others on the committee repeated the concerns about the process and why it should be delayed during the morning meeting. They then issued several motions to get the documents they are seeking, but the committee majority turned those efforts back.