U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh survived three days of confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that were punctuated by protests from Democrats on the panel and protestors seated in the public gallery.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut was in the midst of much of the complaints raised by Democrats over process as they sought to delay the proceedings. They complained of a late-night document dump on the eve of the hearing that left them scrambling to read some 42,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s record. They also complained records from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House has been withheld from them and that what has been released was largely labeled “Committee Confidential” without their party’s consent.
Blumenthal called for the committee to adjourn on Tuesday without effect. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa refused to consider any such motions claiming they were out of order during a committee hearing. Grassley, however, allowed Democrats broad leeway in voicing their complaints for over an hour much to the consternation of some Republican members who complained of “mob rule.”
Blumenthal also joined Democrats in supporting New Jersey Democrat Corey Booker who decided to make public a few of the “Committee Confidential” documents. Texas Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, complained it was a breach of Senate rules punishable by expulsion — something Democrats on the committee denied.
Blumenthal released documents, too.
Beyond the procedural sideshow, Kavanaugh faced two days of questioning from committee members. Democrats focused much of their questioning on his views about the powers of the executive branch, gun control, the Affordable Care Act, abortion and the special counsel’s investigation stemming from Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Blumenthal asked about each and offered that many of the responses left him frustrated as Kavanaugh declined to provide direct answers. At the close of his second round of questioning, Blumenthal asked Kavanaugh about his views on the Affordable Care Act — citing to him the case of Conner Curran, a seven-year-old from Ridgefield, who has Duchene muscular dystrophy, a debilitating and degenerative disease.
Time to continue my line of questioning with Judge Kavanaugh. It is of utmost importance to understand his record on vital rights & liberties for the sake of the American people.
Posted by Senator Richard Blumenthal on Thursday, September 6, 2018
Blumenthal said that without ACA protections, Curran’s pre-existing condition could leave him without health insurance to cover what undoubtedly will be major medical expenses. Blumenthal noted that Kavanaugh had refused to answer whether or not he would vote to uphold protections for pre-existing conditions or whether he believed the Affordable Care Act to be constitutional.
Blumenthal concluded by expressing his “fear and deep concern” to Kavanaugh that he would “not apply the law to the facts but use the law to advance an ideological position that may affect people like Conner.”