The Women's March released a statement just now claiming credit for disrupting the Kavanaugh hearing and stating that more than 30 women have so far been arrested.
Rachel O’Leary Carmona, chief operating officer of Women’s March, said in the statement, "Women are disrupting this hearing today because our lives are at risk. Women will die if Kavanaugh is confirmed."
She warned "politicians on both sides of the aisle" that if they failed to stop Kavanaugh "we will make you pay in November and in 2020." Democrats, they warned, would be primaried. Republican seats would be flipped.
She also warned there would be many more disruptions to come: “Hundreds of women from across the country are still in line waiting to access the Kavanaugh hearings -- and we will not stop.”
The group released a series of videos documenting the protests and arrests on Twitter, where they included the hashtag: #CancelKavanaugh.
Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, assailed Democrats and protesters alike for the "pandemonium" that's so far delayed Judge Brett Kavanaugh's hearing by more than an hour.
"I'm amazed at the poker faces I've seen on the front row during all of this pandemonium," Cornyn said, adding it was "unlike anything I've ever seen before in a confirmation hearing."
He was later interrupted by no less than seven protesters, who shouted things like “He is not the voice of the people” and, “Hell no, Kavanaugh.” They were removed from the room by Capitol Police.
Toward the end, he added, "I sincerely hope this week we can all take a deep breath. We're not doing very well so far and get a grip and treat this process with the respect and gravity it demands."
Sen. Hatch lost his cool as a protester interrupted his opening statement, shouting about health care. Here's the exchange:
WOMAN: “I would die without it. I’m a pre-existing condition”
HATCH: “Mr. Chairman I think we ought to have this loudmouth removed."
WOMAN: “I would die. I would die without it.”
HATCH: “We shouldn’t have to put up with this kind of stuff.”
WOMAN: “We need health care.”
HATCH: “I hope she’s not a law student.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch accused Democrats who hope to run for president in 2020 as chasing "that coveted TV clip" in their appeals this morning and wishing "we could drop all the nonsense."
He described Judge Kavanaugh as "unquestionably qualified" and said he was "one of the most widely respected judges in the country."
Here's the full quote:
Unfortunately we have all these interest groups screaming from the sidelines and putting pressure on my Democratic colleagues to make this hearing about politics, to make it about pretty much anything except Judge Kavanaugh and his qualifications. We have folks who want to run for president, who want their moment in the spotlight, who want that coveted TV clip. Frankly, I wish we could drop all the nonsense. Judge Kavanaugh is unquestionably qualified, he's one of the most widely respected judges in the country, he's well within the Ju durable mainstream. Any one who wants to argue otherwise wants to banish half the country from the mainstream. Judge, I'm glad you're here today. I'm sorry you're going to have to go through some of these nonsense that's about to come your way, but I hope you do it well.
Just a quick programming note: Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee chairman, began his opening remarks at 10:47 a.m. ET, more than an hour after the hearing began.
He was delayed by Democratic appeals to adjourn and protesters who repeatedly interrupted the proceedings.
About 10 protesters have been escorted out in the last 10 minutes -- some sharing personal reasons for their protest, like one woman who was in a wheelchair and expressed concern over her pre-existing condition.
Here is some of what was yelled:
- Kavanaugh will enable "President Trump’s ability to pardon themselves."
- "Threat to women’s rights."
- "Brett Kavanaugh is the wrong person for the Supreme Court."
- A woman in a wheelchair said, "I am in a wheelchair and I traveled here from Illinois."
The Capitol Police are arresting people.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh's two daughters just left the hearing.
A source close to Kavanaugh tells CNN “that was always the plan, they’d stay for an hour and go back for intros” later in the day.
There were ongoing discussions throughout the holiday weekend, including a call, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, where leadership and Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats agreed to do this at the beginning of the hearing, per a person familiar.
Their goal: Democrats want to slow the process and protest the document issue. Efforts will ebb and flow throughout the day. They were given new ammunition with the 42,000 documents sent to the Hill last night.
During the hearing, Republican Senator Thom Tillis called out Democrats during the hearing, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) confirmed the call.
CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic, who has covered the Supreme Court for 25 years and is the author of several books on the judiciary, tells us she's "never seen such a disruption" at a hearing such as today's.
Here's her quick take on what we're witnessing:
Stunning. I’ve never seen such a disruption. The question is whether Democrats can keep up the momentum or if this will simply derail for an hour or so. I believe Democrats have a real complaint: Kavanaugh’s staff secretary years during the George W. Bush administration were crucial. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley keeps talking about quantity, but quantity isn’t relevant if so many of the docs are redacted and partial conversations. Nothing we’ve seen so far adds to the picture of this nominee. Grassley also keeps comparing apples and oranges. He just raised the issue of John Roberts’ documents from his time as solicitor general. But this is about White House counsel work, and Roberts’ materials from that tenure was turned over.