Republican Sen. John Cornyn suggested his Democratic colleagues' behavior at the start of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing would render them held “in contempt of court” in a regular court proceeding.
Fireworks erupted at the hearing as soon as Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley began his opening statements. Democrats continuously interrupted and spoke over the 84-year-old Republican to ask for more time to review some 42,000 documents the committee received last minute.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., specifically moved to adjourn the hearing. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., accused the committee of “rushing through this process in a way that is unnecessary.”
But Sen. Cornyn admonished his Democratic colleagues, saying if the hearing was “handled like a court of law” – as one Democrat had suggested – then “virtually every member” of the Democratic side “would be held in contempt of court.”
“Because this whole process is supposed to be a civil one where people get to ask questions and we get to get answers, and that’s the basis we’re to exercise our constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent so I would just suggest we got on with the hearing,” Cornyn said.
He later said Democrats were trying to run the hearing according to “mob rule” and said they were being unfair as they had “already made up their minds” prior to the hearing.
Kavanaugh has left one of the longest paper trails of any recent Supreme Court nominee, having served for more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and, before that, for five years as a lawyer in the White House Counsel's office during the George W. Bush administration.
Democrats have seen thousands of those documents but have want time to review more. They have also said they’ve been denied access to certain documents they say is needed to properly vet Kavanaugh.
Aside from Senate Democrats’ interruptions, at least 22 protesters who interrupted the hearing were arrested at its opening, according to the United States Capitol Police.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.