'Mob rule' rocks US Senate hearing for judge

“Handmaids” are protesting at Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing

Fred Guttenberg (L), father of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg, tries to shake hands with Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh as he leaves for lunch break during Tuesday's confirmation hearing. "[Democrats] know that nothing in the Senate Standing Rules or Judiciary Committee Rules grants Grassley sole authority to designate documents "Committee Confidential' or prohibit their public release".

But within moments of Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley banging the gavel, Democrats launched what appeared to be coordinated protests against moving ahead with the hearing on Kavanaugh's lifetime appointment to the highest United States court.

Democrats have raised objections to both Kavanaugh's record and his nomination process, which they say has been rushed and has lacked transparency. Grassley says the documents are "irrelevant" to Kavanaugh's qualifications as a judge.

Republicans said at the end of August that they had received 415,000 pages of documents, of which it had deemed 147,000 to be "committee confidential", meaning they could be viewed by any senator but not publicly disclosed. "These members have had plenty of time to get through the documents, they are just trying to find stall tactics because they already know they are going to vote against him".

Yet my own favorite moment was Judge Kavanaughs answer to a question from Senator Mike Lee of Utah.

"The Judiciary Committee was informed in a letter from Bill Burck that Presidents Bush and Trump would claim executive privilege on more than 100,000 pages of Brett Kavanaugh's records from the White House Counsel's Office".

Republicans hoped to use the four-day hearing as an opportunity to highlight Kavanaugh's distinguished career as a US Court of Appeals judge in Washington, DC.

Kavanaugh-a deeply controversial figure seen by progressives as a threat to women's healthcare rights-was asked about Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that protects the right to abortion.

Harris, a former California attorney general, was the last Democrat to ask questions in Wednesday's marathon hearing.

Earlier in the hearing, Kavanaugh had also made the point that he wasn't anti-regulation. Some Democrats, including Sen.

Numerous documents that have been shielded from disclosure come from Kavanaugh's three years as associate White House counsel.

Democrats have warned that Mr Trump's choice will usher in a more socially conservative approach to abortion, gay rights and gun control.

He stated his reliance on precedent for the first two - although he did not give his opinion on Roe - and said he couldn't answer the third due to another precedent, the standard established during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg two and a half decades ago.

A protester is removed during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. Democrats signaled that they would press Kavanaugh in depth on abortion and gun rights, among other issues, when they get to question the nominee. Kavanaugh said that Supreme Court decision establishing a constitutional right to an abortion set an "important precedent" that has "been reaffirmed many times". If all goes as Republicans plan, Kavanaugh could be on the bench when the court begins its new term on October 1. Sasse ripped into his Congressional colleagues for not enacting legislation related to sensitive issues, leaving the Supreme Court to clean up the mess and draw the ire of Americans who don't understand that justices are not political figures. Republicans in turn accused the Democrats of turning the hearing into a circus.

"The president is subject to the laws".

At the very least, the protests managed to annoy one prominent Republican.