The Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been delayed until next week.
In a vote on party lines, the committee voted on Thursday, 11-10, to set the vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for September 20.
The move by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, to hold over the nomination tracks with committee practice, and continues the Republican push forward to have Kavanaugh confirmed by the full Senate the last week of September.
But what is usually a quick procedural process turned into another opportunity for the panel’s Democrats to voice their displeasure – and disdain – for a process that has drawn criticism as unfair for weeks.
Democrats pushed back on holding a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, arguing that they don’t have access to documents about Kavanaugh’s record and haven’t heard from witnesses.
“I don’t understand the rush to judgment,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee. “If successfully nominated he could become the deciding vote on major issues Americans care deeply about.”
Republicans on the committee blocked several of Democratic senators’ motions made during the meeting.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, reiterated his motion to adjourn the hearing almost immediately after lawmakers took their seats in the Senate hearing room for the business meeting.
“I believe that (Kavanaugh’s) nomination is going to be tainted. It will be stained by a badly broken process that has shattered the norm and broken the tradition this committee,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal later withdrew his motion to adjourn, only later to request a subpoena of a number of witnesses he argued are “vital” to resolving key questions raised in Kavanaugh’s hearing.
A Democratic motion to subpoena for the release of documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush administration that have been withheld by executive privilege was also blocked.
All eyes now return to the handful of moderate Republicans and red state Democrats who remain undecided on the nomination. Republican leaders continue to voice confidence that Kavanaugh will be confirmed despite strenuous objections from Democrats to both the process, and the nominee himself.