The ‘handmaids’ were lined up in the hall again Wednesday in a Senate office building as Judge Brett Kavanaugh faced his first day of aggressive political ping-pong with lawmakers who will determine whether he takes a seat on the Supreme Court.
Following the arrests of 70 anti-Kavanaugh dissenters on Tuesday during the first day of confirmation hearings, Judiciary Committee staffers reassigned half of the 44 public seats to themselves.
Protesters, however, still managed to embed themselves in the hearing room and began to pipe up just seconds after Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley recounted the previous day’s chaos.
‘Sham president, sham justice!’ an anti-gun-rights activist shouted as she and another demonstrator were led out. ‘No more NRA justices! Stop the slaughter of our children!’
Another rhetorical warrior howled ‘Mother Earth! Mother Earth! Mother Earth! Mother Earth!’ as she was marched to the door.
At least 15 uniformed U.S. Capitol police officers were on hand for the hearing.
Grassley recalled that ‘Democratic senators interrupted the hearing 63 times before lunch,’ and ‘in the audience 70 people were arrested yesterday who were following their lead.’
But ultimately he acknowledged that he could do little to stem the river of criticism voiced before a global audience.
So while Kavanaugh held up his thumbed and worn copy of the U.S. Constitution and declared that it ’tilts toward liberty,’ a woman 20 feet behind him yelled ‘You’re Trump’s puppet!’ – and television broadcasts carried it live.
Grassley told the room that the interruptions would ‘come out of my time,’ meaning that he wouldn’t stop the clock on his 30-minute allotment for questions.
‘But it’s okay,’ he shrugged.
‘Let these people have their free speech and interrupt the other 300 million people listening,’ the elderly Iowan told Kavanaugh. ‘If they want to affect [how] the other 300 million people hear from you, then that’s just too bad.’
At one mention of President Donald Trump, another protester boomed: ‘He’s the first presidential criminal!’
The prevailing conflict in the hearing’s early going wasn’t between Democrats and Republicans, but between Kavanaugh’s calm and professorial tone and the aggressive voices who were heard for about five seconds before each ejection.
While the judge waxed about judicial independence and taught a history lesson about how the Warren Burger court adjudicated ‘U.S. vs. Nixon,’ a protester insisted that he himself call a stop to the proceedings.
‘You are a man of integrity! You yourself should cancel the appearance. You yourself should revoke yourself,’ she hollered.
Kavanaugh picked up where he had left off, talking about the need for a judge to focus on ‘resisting public pressure, political pressure.
‘It’s treating everyone equally,’ he said.
Committee Republicans on Tuesday exposed a weekend conference call in which Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer allegedly helped liberal advocacy groups organize their opposition.
One protester insisted that he wasn’t part of any larger cabal: ‘We are not working with the Democrats! We are working for ourselves!’
Grassley complained about time ‘wasted on disruption and disorder.’ Seconds later a man rose to his feet and screamed about needed protections for women, minorities and Americans with disabilities.
‘This is a Democracy, not the Mafia!’ another blared.
And in a direct appeal to senators who will cast votes on Kavanaugh, a woman chanted ‘Yes means death!’ until her voice disappeared down a marble corridor.
Ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in a preamble to her opening question about gun control, smiled warmly at Kavanaugh.
‘I’m sorry about the circumstances,’ she said, clearly referring to the protests. ‘But we’ll get through it.’
Protesters allowed her to question Kavanaugh about gun control and abortion politics without interruption.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, David Martosko