- A handful of Democratic senators walked out of the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Friday morning in protest of the vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
- “My answer is no, no, no,” Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said as she left the room.
- The 21-person panel is expected to approve Kavanaugh’s nomination – the next step toward full Senate confirmation – at 1:30 pm on Friday.
Four Democratic senators walked out of the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Friday morning while committee chairman Chuck Grassley delivered his opening statement praising Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont held a press conference in the hallway outside the committee room.
Harris and Sen. Cory Booker remained silent during the committee’s vote, while other Democrats spoke out in dissent.
“I strongly object. This is just totally ridiculous. What a railroad job. My answer is no, no, no,” Hirono said as she left the room.
The 21-person panel is expected to approve Kavanaugh’s nomination – sending him to a cloture vote on Saturday – at 1:30 pm on Friday. Sen. Jeff Flake – the only Republican on the committee who had signalled he could break with his party – announced on Friday morning that he would support the nominee, who has been accused of sexual misconduct.
“It was only fair that his accuser had the burden of proof and, in my opinion, this wasn’t met,” Grassley said during his opening statement, referring to the allegations of sexual assault made against Kavanaugh by research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford.
Blumenthal condemned his Republican colleagues at the press conference, arguing that they were doing their best to ignore and divert attention away from the “undeniably credible” sexual assault allegations against the judge.
“Talking about coordination, what we saw yesterday was a coordinated effort to change the conversation away from the brave, courageous survivor of sexual assault because her story was so intensely, undeniably credible, to a partisan attack,” Blumenthal said, referring to Ford’s Thursday testimony.
Meanwhile, in the Senate hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, excoriated Kavanaugh for what she described as his “aggressive and belligerent” behaviour during his Thursday testimony.
“Candidly, in the 25 years on this committee, I have never seen a nominee for any position behave in that manner,” Feinstein said. “This was not someone who reflected an impartial temperament or the fairness and even-handedness one would see in a judge.”
— Jess Bravin (@JessBravin) September 28, 2018
A group of House Democratic women who were sitting in on the hearing also walked out in protest.
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Liberal activists encouraged the senators to walk out.
I've been saying this for weeks: EVERY DEMOCRAT SHOULD WALK OUT.
Do not legitimize this sham process.
Do not participate in the destruction of the #SupremeCourt.
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) September 28, 2018
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