In another act of uncivility that marked the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, four Democratic senators staged a walkout on Friday after Republicans decided to set a time to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut had motioned to subpoena Mark Judge, a friend and high school classmate Kavanaugh, before any vote was taken.
“I’d like to make a motion to subpoena Mark Judge as a witness before our committee,” Blumenthal said.
Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the motion and moved to schedule a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Kamala Harris of California were the four senators who walked out of the hearing room, according to The Hill.
“I strongly object. This is just totally ridiculous. What a railroad job. My answer is no, no, no!” called out Hirono, who earlier this week said Kavanaugh should not be granted the presumption of innocence.
“Ramming through this nomination without hearing from Mark Judge and other relevant witnesses, and without any investigation, is a betrayal of our promise,” Blumenthal said. “Make no mistake: The truth will come out about Brett Kavanaugh.”
Harris, who had opened the first day of Ford’s hearings with a stream of objections to the process, called the meeting a “sham,” saying Ford and the “American people deserve better,” according to Newsweek.
Prior to her departure, Harris refused to speak during the roll call to schedule the vote on Kavanaugh.
“It breaks our rules and customs,” Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said of the Democrats’ behavior.
“I’m sure a lot of people are irritated right now,” he added later.
The committee agreed to hold the vote Friday afternoon, with formerly undecided Arizona Republican Jeff Flake making a last-minute commitment to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham offered some words of praise for Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump, according to ABC.
“I would like to tell (Trump) that you had a choice to make for the Supreme Court vacancy of Justice Kennedy,” he said. “I think you did a good job, Mr. President. For somebody who supposedly is crazy and there’s chaos everywhere, he did a good job here.”
Graham also had a blunt message for Democrats.
“You lost the election. And that does have consequences,” he said.
Above all, he said, Kavanaugh is qualified for the post.
“I have never heard a more compelling defense of one’s honor and integrity than I did from Brett Kavanaugh,” he said, speaking of the Thursday hearing in which Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations against him.
Democrats who stayed behind voiced their frustrations that the Republicans would not wait on Kavanaugh’s nomination until all investigations that might be conducted have taken place.
“This isn’t a political battle for power, as some have said,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
“This is a serious undertaking with serious allegations. While the Republican strategy is no longer attack the victim, it is ignore the victim. The entire country is watching now how we handle these serious allegations.”
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont complained that the committee should not be working in partnership with the Trump administration.
“It’s almost surreal,” Leahy said.
“This Judiciary Committee is no longer an independent branch of government. And we’re supposed to be,” he said. “The Senate is supposed to be an independent, equal branch of government. We’re no longer that. We are an arm and a very weak arm of the Trump White House. Every semblance of independence has just disappeared. It’s gone.”
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