Live coverage: Trump's court pick presents his case at contentious hearing

Live coverage: Trump's court pick presents his case at contentious hearing
© Greg Nash

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday began a days-long hearing for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The committee’s hearing marked the first high-profile, televised grilling of Kavanaugh since Trump picked him as his second Supreme Court nominee nearly two months ago.

ADVERTISEMENT

Republicans have largely lined up in support of Kavanaugh. Democrats, in the minority, can’t block Kavanaugh on their own but are under pressure to use the hearing to hammer the nominee on his views. 

The Judiciary Committee began the hearing on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m and after a protest-filled day, wrapped at 5:00 p.m.

Formal questioning of Kavanaugh will start on Wednesday.

Grassley wraps up first day, says committee could vote on confirmation by Sept. 13

5:00 p.m

Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Grassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing Dem senators back Kavanaugh accuser's call for FBI investigation MORE (R-Iowa) wrapped up the first day of the hearing by saying the committee could vote on Kavanaugh's nomination as early as Sept. 13.

Grassley announced that the nomination would be "noticed" for that date.

The move means Sept. 13 is the earliest date that the committee could vote on the nomination. Kavanaugh is expected to easily clear the Judiciary Committee, where Republicans hold the majority and GOP senators have been supportive of his nomination.

Despite Grassley's timeline, a committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination will likely be delayed until Sept. 20.

Under committee rules, any one member can ask that a nomination is held over for one week if it's appearing on the committee's agenda for the first time. Judicial nominees are routinely held over.

— Jordain Carney 

Kavanaugh: ‘I am a pro-law judge’

4:45 p.m. 

Kavanaugh told the committee in his opening remarks that he is not a judge who favors one side in a case over another.

 “I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge,” he said.  “I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.”

Over the past 12 years, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge said he has ruled for both sides, “sometimes for the prosecution and sometimes for criminal defendants, sometimes for workers and sometimes for businesses, sometimes for environmentalists and sometimes for coal miners.”

“In each case, I have followed the law,” he said. “I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences.”

— Lydia Wheeler

Kavanaugh begins opening statement, notes meeting with senators

4:40 p.m.

Kavanaugh kicked off his remarks by noting that he met with 65 senators ahead of the hearings, "witnessing first hand the Senate's deep appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary." 

He said these meetings are often called "courtesy calls," but that understates how substantive and personal those conversations were. 

"I have greatly enjoyed all 65 meetings," he said. "In listening to all of you, I have learned a great deal about our country and the people you represent. Every senator is devoted to public service and the public good, and I thank all the senators for their time and their thoughts."

— Lydia Wheeler 

Grassley swears in Kavanaugh 

4:38 p.m.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) swore in Kavanaugh, who stood to take the oath, so that the Supreme Court nominee could deliver his opening statement to the committee. The move set off a new flurry of camera clicks in the committee room as photographers tried to capture the moment.

— Jordain Carney

GOP senator helps introduce Kavanaugh

4:30 p.m.

GOP Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGraham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (Ohio) praised Kavanaugh as he helped introduce him to the Judiciary Committee, saying there is "not a better-qualified person."

"I have watched him for the past 12 years on the D.C. Circuit, where he has been praised as fair, smart and independent," Portman said.

Portman played up Kavanaugh's personal life and their relationship, including their work together for the George W. Bush White House.

"He is thoughtful and compassionate and someone who has a big heart and the humility to listen," Portman said.

Portman also recounted how Kavanaugh has been a coach for Kavanaugh's daughter's sports team and his volunteer work, including how Kavanaugh went from a meeting they had shortly before his nomination was announced to helping serve the homeless dinner.

"It’s classic that Brett didn’t even tell me that this was his next stop. A class act. He does things because they are the right thing to do," Portman said.

— Jordain Carney

Condoleezza Rice backs Kavanaugh

4:25 p.m.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduced Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing Tuesday afternoon, saying Kavanaugh is smart, hardworking and will be an "outstanding" Supreme Court justice.

"Brett is wise," she said. "He is an old soul, who is made to help steady us in these complicated times."

Rice also said the Brett she knows also listens, especially to those with whom he disagrees.

"And in our current environment when we have become almost tribal, living in echo chambers and often finding comfort in the company of only those whom we agree, this is an indispensable quality for the responsibilities of the Supreme Court," she said.

— Lydia Wheeler

Committee takes a second recess 

4:10 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took a second break after senators on the committee appeared to wrap their opening statements on Tuesday.

The panel took a recess after Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Graham knocks South Korea over summit with North MORE (R-S.C.) was the last senator to give his opening statement.

Now the committee will hear from Kavanaugh, who spoke only briefly earlier Tuesday to acknowledge his family's attendance. They'll also get opening statements from officials who will introduce Kavanaugh, including Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

— Jordain Carney

Possible 2020 contenders concerned where Kavanaugh's loyalties lie

4:05 p.m.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Democrats: Kavanaugh’s classmate must testify Kamala Harris on Kavanaugh accuser: ‘I believe her’ Senate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents MORE (D-Calif.), often viewed as a potential 2020 presidential hopeful, said she is deeply concerned that what guides him is not independence and impartiality, but ideology.

“This nominee has dedicated his entire career to a conservative, Republican agenda, helping to spearhead a partisan investigation into President Clinton, helping to George W. Bush’s legal team ensure every vote was not counted in Bush v. Gore, helping to confirm partisan judges and enact partisan laws as part of the Bush White House.”

Harris said senators should look at his record on the D.C. Circuit and recent writings, adding she thinks it is clear Kavanaugh has brought his political bias to the bench. She specifically noted Kavanaugh's writings in which he expressed views that investigations against a sitting president should be postponed until they are out of office.

"I am concerned your loyalty would be to the president who appointed you, and not to the Constitution of the United States," she said.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents Judd Gregg: The collapse of the Senate Dems engage in last-ditch effort to block Kavanaugh MORE (D-N.J.), another possible 2020 contender, echoed Harris’s concerns, arguing Kavanaugh would be a vote for special interests that come before the court.

"I've looked through the record I've had access to, to see the pattern of your decisions and that’s the pattern that really troubles me, judge, and I know we're going to get a chance to go through this," he said, while Kavanaugh sat stone-faced looking back at him.

“It seems so clear that, in your courts, the same folks seem to win over and over again: the powerful, the privileged, big corporations, special interests."

— Lydia Wheeler

Dems shift tactics: Urge Kavanaugh to postpone his own hearing

3:25 p.m. 

Democrats are shifting tactics and instead urging Brett Kavanaugh to postpone his own hearings until committee members get his full record.

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoBlumenthal: Kavanaugh nomination should be withdrawn Hirono to men: 'Shut up and step up' Hirono: Dems could keep SCOTUS seat vacant for two years MORE (D-Hawaii) urged Kavanaugh to call for his hearing to be suspended after Grassley refused to hold a vote on motions to adjourn the proceedings. 

“Judge Kavanaugh, what may be going through your mind right now is to simply and stoically endure this hearing," she said. "But don’t you think you owe it to the American people to disclose all of the documents being requested because you have nothing to hide?"

She said she agrees with Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ill.), who also urged Kavanaugh to stand behind his full record and join Democrats in their calls to adjourn until senators are given a chance to review all relevant documents. 

"Your failure to do so would reflect a fundamental distrust of the American people," she said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined in the request for Kavanaugh to ask his hearings to be postponed.

" I think these proceedings have been a great disservice to you as well as this committee and the American people," he said. "If you are confirmed after this truncated and concealed process, there will always be a taint, there will always be an asterisk after your name." 

— Lydia Wheeler 

Dem renews efforts to adjourn hearing 

2:50 p.m.

Blumenthal pushed Grassley to hold a vote on his motion to adjourn the hearing.

Grassley said committee rules only apply to executive business sessions so he denies the motion.

Blumenthal then squabbled with Grassley, asking him to point to the language in Rule 4 or anywhere else that limits its scope to executive business meetings.

“There is no such language,” he said.

Grassley said he’d ruled.

“If the chair, with all due respect, is ruling against me, I move to appeal the chair,” he said. “With all due respect, the chairman is not above the rules of the committee. I asked for a roll call vote to overturn the ruling of the chair and allow for a vote on my motion to adjourn these proceedings.”

Grassley said that would be an appropriate motion if the committee were in executive business session.

“But we’re not in executive business session, so it’s denied,” he said.

 Blumenthal said he would “proceed under protest."

“We’ve had a lot of rhetoric so far about rules and norms. I am very regretful that the chair has adopted this stance, which in my view contradicts our basic norms and principles, but I will proceed,” he said.

A woman in the back of the room stood up and yelled, “Take the vote, save what is left of our democracy.”

— Lydia Wheeler

Flake to grill Kavanaugh on executive power 

2:20 p.m. 

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGrassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing Dem senators back Kavanaugh accuser's call for FBI investigation Kavanaugh accuser says FBI should investigate before she testifies MORE (R-Ariz.), an outspoken critic of President Trump, said Tuesday he too plans to ask Brett Kavanaugh about his views on executive power and privilege.

He said, like Democrats, he has concerns that the administration doesn't seem to understand and appreciate the separation of powers and the rule of law.

He noted Trump’s Monday tweet Monday in which the president renewed his attack on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions: DOJ concerned about suppression of free speech on college campuses Faith communities are mobilizing against Trump’s family separation policy Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lands book deal MORE, criticizing him for pursuing charges against GOP Reps. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsIndicted GOP lawmaker to stay on ballot in New York this fall: report Live coverage: Cuomo, Nixon face off in high-stakes New York primary Hoyer lays out government reform blueprint MORE (N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterIndicted GOP lawmaker to stay on ballot in New York this fall: report Hoyer lays out government reform blueprint The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — McConnell warns of GOP `knife fight’ to keep Senate control MORE (Calif.).

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......,” Trump tweeted.

Flake said Trump's tweet is why a lot of people are concerned about this administration. 

“Gratefully, Jeff Sessions has resisted pressure from the president to punish his enemies and relieve pressure on his friends and many of the questions you will get from the other side of the aisle and from me will be how you view that relationship,” he said. 

— Lydia Wheeler 

Sasse blasts politicization of Supreme Court

1:55 p.m.

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseMcConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal Senate approves 4B spending bill Grassley agrees to second Kavanaugh hearing after GOP members revolt MORE (R-Neb.) blasted the politicization of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying the drama-filled hearing “stinks” and urging his colleagues to “stop the charades.”

Sasse added that political commentators have begun talking about the Supreme Court like justices wear jerseys based on their political leanings.

“That’s a really dangerous thing. And, by the way, if they have red and blue jerseys I would welcome my colleagues to introduce the legislation that ends lifetime tenure for the judiciary,” Sasse said.

He added that the “hysteria” on Tuesday wasn’t tied to Kavanaugh himself and, instead, Americans have a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the role of the court.

“He’s going to a job where he’s not supposed to be a superlegislator,” Sasse said, referring to Kavanaugh.

— Jordain Carney 

Sasse elbows Klobuchar over pop culture references

1:40 p.m. 

Amid intense partisan battling during the first day of Kavanaugh's hearing, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) brought a brief bipartisan moment of humor starting his speech by complimenting Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharGOP in striking distance to retake Franken seat Warner: 'overwhelming majority' of Republicans would back social media regulations Republicans block Democratic bid to subpoena Kavanaugh documents MORE (D-Minn.) for her opening statement.  

"I really want to riff with Amy for a while. Sen. Klobuchar, you did [Founding Father James] Madison, Lin-Manuel Miranda and your dad taking you to court. Well done. I had all that on my bingo card," Sasse joked while speaking to Klobuchar, who was seated across the room. Miranda is the creator of the Broadway smash "Hamilton."  

He added that he also took his kids to court but "mostly to juvie just to scare them straight."

Klobuchar quipped back: "Who said that wasn't what my dad was doing?" 

— Jordain Carney

Kavanaugh's daughters not back for afternoon session

1:30 p.m. 

When the hearing reconvened after a 30-minute lunch break Tuesday afternoon, Kavanaugh's young daughters, Margaret and Liza, were noticeably missing from the proceedings. 

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) noted the girls' absence. He said he was glad they could get out of the room and hopes they can still enjoy the day off from school. 

Kavanaugh's hearings were repeatedly interrupted by screaming protesters throughout the morning, frustrating Republicans.

— Lydia Wheeler 

Grassley calls out Democrats for 'fuzzy math'

1:25 p.m.

After Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reconvened the committee, he accused Democrats of using “fuzzy math” when calculating the number of records they’ve received on Brett Kavanaugh.

“My colleagues keep saying we only have 6 percent of Kavanaugh’s White House records but that 99 percent of Justice Kagan’s White House records were made public before the hearing,” he said. “This is fuzzy math.”

Grassley said Democrats have calibrated their “phony” 6 percent figure on two inaccurate numbers. He said they are counting the estimated number of pages a career archivist at the National Archives has counted before emails and attachments are actually reviewed. 

“When Judge Kavanaugh's White House emails that we’ve received, the actual number of pages ended up being significantly less than the number the National Archives estimated before the actual review. One reason is because we were able to use technology to cull out the exact duplicate emails,” he said.

He said the Democrats’ 6 percent figure counts millions of pages of “irrelevant” documents from Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary under former President George W. Bush, which Republicans never requested.

“While we may have received 99 percent of Justice Kagan’s White House records, we received zero records from her most relevant legal service as a solicitor general, the federal government top Supreme Court advocate,” he said.  

— Lydia Wheeler 

Kavanaugh hearing breaks for lunch

12:58 p.m.

Grassley paused the hearings shortly after 12:45 p.m. for a 30-minute recess.

A flurry of camera shutters started clicking and people started to move when Grassley announced it was time for a break.

"Wait a minute," he said, banging his gavel.

He said the proceedings would reconvene at 1:17 p.m.

"Gorsuch returned about 10 minutes later than that, so be on time," he told Kavanaugh, referring to Trump's first SCOTUS nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

— Lydia Wheeler

Whitehouse on conservative majority: The 'Roberts five'

12:25 p.m. 

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents Dems call on Senate to postpone Kavanaugh vote Dems play waiting game with Collins and Murkowski MORE (D-R.I.) said the conservative majority on the Supreme Court has gone off on “partisan excursions through the civil law” and sided with Republican interests in 73 cases since John Roberts became the court’s chief justice.  

“Every time a big Republican corporate or partisan interest is involved, the big Republican interest wins. Every time,” he said.

“Let me repeat: In seventy-three partisan decisions where there’s a big Republican interest at stake, the big Republican interest wins. Every. Damned. Time." 

Whitehouse said this track record is why there’s a mad scramble on behalf of Republican interest groups to protect a “Roberts Five” that will reliably give them wins.

“When the Roberts Five saddles up, these so-called conservatives are anything but judicially conservative,” he said.

“They readily overturn precedent, toss out statutes passed by wide bipartisan margins, and decide on broad constitutional issues they need not reach. Modesty, originalism, stare decisis, all these supposedly conservative judicial principles, all have the hoof prints of the Roberts Five all across their backs, wherever those principles got in the way of wins for the big Republican interests.”

In the subject of an email, the White House called Whitehouse’s remarks a "head scratcher."

“Judge Kavanaugh is an independent minded judge who has ruled against the [Republican National Committee] RNC, for the [Environmental Protection Agency] EPA, against corporations, and on and on, when the law requires it,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said.  

The White House included stats on Kavanaugh’s ruling, arguing that 94 percent of the matters Kavanaugh heard on the D.C. Circuit were decided unanimously and in 97 percent of matters he hears, he voted in the majority.

In at least 10 cases, the White House said Kavanaugh has joined a judge that had been appointed by a Democratic president over the dissent of a judge appointed by a Republican president. 

— Lydia Wheeler  

Schatz announces opposition to Kavanaugh hours into hearing

12:20 p.m. 

Democratic Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (Hawaii) announced on Tuesday that he will oppose Brett Kavanaugh hours into the first day of his Supreme Court nomination hearing. 

“I’ve seen enough. As long as the Republicans refuse to release 96 percent of the Kavanaugh records, this process is illegitimate," Schatz said in a statement.

Schatz added that was "convinced" that Republicans are "hiding something" and will oppose Kavanaugh because of that. 

"Every other Supreme Court nominee has turned over nearly everything, and I am now convinced they are hiding something. I will vote no," Schatz said in a statement. 

Schatz isn't a member of the Judiciary Committee. But he is one of several Democrats who had remained formally on the fence despite widely being expected to vote "no" on Kavanaugh. 

Schatz, like most Democrats, previously opposed Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination.

— Jordain Carney 

Durbin to Kavanaugh: Ask for the hearing to be postponed

12:10 p.m.  

Durbin urged Kavanaugh to personally ask for the hearing to be suspended after Grassley shot down a similar request from Democrats earlier Tuesday. 

"For the sake of this nation, for the sanctity of the Constitution that we both honor, step up. ... Ask this gathering to suspend until all the documents of your public career are there for the American people to see," Durbin told Kavanaugh at the end of his remarks. 

Durbin added that moving forward without all of Kavanaugh's documents from his White House tenure being publicly released would cast suspicion on Trump's nominee even if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court. 

The appeal is expected to fall short, but Democrats, in the minority, are limited in their ability to delay or disrupt Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing. 

The appeal comes after Democrats were expected to use their closed-door meetings with Kavanaugh to urge him to publicly back releasing all of his White House documents. Kavanaugh has not done so. 

— Jordain Carney 

Durbin suggests Kavanaugh misled committee on involvement in detention policy 

12:05 p.m. 

Durbin used his opening statement to renew his concern that Kavanaugh misled the committee during a 2006 hearing about his work on the Bush administration post-9/11 detention policy. 

Durbin said he had wanted to "trust" Kavanaugh during his 2006 hearing and was starting this week's hearings with "questions about your credibility as a witness."  

"You said to me unambiguously under oath the following: 'I was not involved and am not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants,' " Durbin said during the hearing on Tuesday. 

But he added that roughly a week ago during a closed-door meeting with Durbin, Kavanaugh "acknowledged in my office that you were involved. For 12 years you could have apologized and corrected this record but you never did." 

Democrats have argued that Kavanaugh misled the committee in 2006. 

But the White House quickly fired back at Durbin, saying the No. 2 Senate Democrat was being "deliberately misleading" about his comments. 

"At no point did Senator Durbin ask the Judge about other legal issues pertaining to the war on terrorism, such as detainees’ legal rights," Raj Shah, a spokesman for the White House, said on Tuesday. 

Shah added that Kavanaugh "accurately said in his 2006 testimony [that] he was not involved in crafting legal policies that formed the rules governing detention of combatants. In fact, he was not even read into these compartmentalized conversations that pertained to drafting these legal memoranda and rules, and first learned of them from the news media."

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate approves 4B spending bill Overnight Health Care: Opioid legislation passes overwhelmingly | DOJ backs Cigna-Express Scripts merger | Senate passes ban on pharmacy gag clauses US military intervention in Venezuela would be a major mistake MORE (R-Utah) called it absurd that Kavanaugh is being accused of misleading the committee.

"The suggestion that you misled this committee at any point in your previous hearings is absurd and the absurdity of that suggestion will be born out in the coming days. I am certain of it." 

— Jordain Carney and Lydia Wheeler

Durbin calls protests the 'noise of Democracy' 

11:55 a.m. 

Durbin told Kavanaugh he hopes he will be able to explain to his children the protests that interrupted the confirmation hearings Tuesday. 

“This is a different hearing for the Supreme Court than I’ve ever been through,” he said. “It’s different in what’s happened in this room just this morning. What we’ve heard is the noise of Democracy.”

Durbin said the protests are what happens in a free country where people can stand up and speak and not be jailed, imprisoned, tortured or killed because of it. He added that “it is not mob rule.”

The reference was toward the shot Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Blumenthal: Kavanaugh nomination should be withdrawn Cornyn takes on O'Rourke over AR-15s MORE (R-Texas) took at Democrats earlier in the morning for trying to get the committee chairman to adjourn or postpone the hearings.

The Senate majority whip accused Democrats of trying to run the hearing by "mob rule."

“There are times it has been uncomfortable. I’m sure it was for your children,” Durbin said. "I hope you can explain this to them at some point, but it does represent what we are about in this democracy.” 

— Lydia Wheeler 

Hatch knocks 2020 hopefuls over Kavanaugh hearing 

11:45 a.m. 

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGrand Staircase-Escalante: A conservation triumph is headed for future as playground for industry McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser MORE (R-Utah) blamed 2020 presidential politics for the partisan fighting within the Judiciary Committee during the hearing. 

"We have folks who want to run for president, who want their moment in the spotlight, who want that coveted TV clip," Hatch said as part of his opening statement.  

He added that "frankly I wish we could drop all the nonsense." 

Hatch didn't name any of his Democratic counterparts by name. But Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are both members of the committee and are viewed as potential White House contenders.  

Harris kicked off Democratic interruptions of committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) at the start of the hearing. Booker also urged Grassley delay the hearing, saying he was appealing to the GOP senator's "decency."

— Jordain Carney

Leahy: Kavanaugh vetting less than '10 percent complete'

11:30 a.m.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyKavanaugh allegations set stage for Anita Hill sequel Senate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents Dems engage in last-ditch effort to block Kavanaugh MORE (D-Vt.) told Kavanaugh he shouldn’t be sitting before the committee today. 

“You’re vetting is less than 10 percent complete,” he said.

Leahy slammed Republicans for refusing to request records from the three years Kavanaugh spent serving as staff secretary under former President George W. Bush. Those records he said address such issues as abortion, same-sex marriage and torture.

But as Leahy lamented the lack of documents the committee received to consider the nomination, he too was interrupted by protesters.

“More women are going to be sent to back-alley abortions,” a woman stood and hollered from the back of the room.

Leahy paused his remarks.

“You must reject his nomination,” another yelled.

Leahy told Grassley that he doesn’t intend to continue what he has to say with such interruptions. 

“I don’t care whose side they are one,” he said.

When the room quieted, Leahy continued.

"All told, only 4 percent of your White House record has been shared with the public, and only 7 percent has been made available to this Committee," he said. "The rest remains hidden from scrutiny." 

Without Kavanaugh's full record, Leahy said, the Senate is not simply “phoning in” their vetting obligation, they’re discarding it.

“It’s not only shameful, it’s a sham,” he said.

He said he plans to question Kavanaugh on Wednesday about misleading testimony he provided the committee about his involvement in controversial issues at the Bush White House when he was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I asked you about these concerns last month, and I want to alert you I will return to those concerns when you are under oath,” he said.

— Lydia Wheeler

Feinstein: Kavanaugh could loosen gun regulations 

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Hillary Clinton: FBI investigation into Kavanaugh could be done quickly Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE (D-Calif.) used part of her opening statement to voice her concerns that Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would allow the Supreme Court to loosen regulations on firearms. 

"In your own words, gun laws are unconstitutional unless they are 'traditional or common' in the United States. You concluded that banning assault weapons is unconstitutional," Feinstein said during her opening statement, speaking to Kavanaugh. 

In 2011, Kavanaugh dissented on a decision that upheld D.C.'s "assault weapons" ban, according to NPR

Feinstein noted that she cared "a lot" about the guns issue and had previously authored a ban on assault weapons. 

"If the Supreme Court were to adopt your reason, I fear the number of victims would continue to grow and citizens would be rendered powerless in enacting sensible gun laws," Feinstein said.  

Feinstein previously highlighted Second Amendment cases as one of the issues she would focus on during Kavanaugh's hearing during a call with reporters on Friday. 

— Jordain Carney 

Hatch to protestor: Remove this 'loud mouth' 

11:10 a.m. 

Hatch quipped on Tuesday that a protester who interrupted his remarks should be taken out of the committee room, referring to the individual as a "loudmouth." 

"Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to have this loud mouth removed," Hatch said to Grassley, drawing laughter from the committee room. 

Hatch, a former chairman of the committee, added that "we shouldn't have to put up with this kind of stuff. I hope she's not a law student."

Hatch, who supports Kavanaugh's confirmation, continued on with his statement but was shouted over by other protestors. 

"Kavanaugh is not to be trusted to keep and eye on the executive branch," another protester screamed from the back of the room. Hatch raised his voice and continued speaking over the protesters.

The protest continued as Hatch hailed Kavanaugh as a judge well within the mainstream.

“Show us the records” one protester screamed, interrupting, while another loudly wailed “No.” 

Every time another protester was carried from the room, chants could be heard from the hallway.

“Hell no, Kavanaugh. Hell no, Kavanaugh.”

Hatch was annoyed. 

"These people are so out of line they shouldn't even be allowed in the doggone room," he said.  

— Jordain Carney and Lydia Wheeler

Feinstein addresses Kavanaugh's abortion views 

11:00 a.m.

Feinstein told Kavanaugh the question on abortion rights he should answer is not whether he believes Roe v. Wade is settled law, but whether he believes it is correct law.

"For you, the president that nominated you has said 'I will nominate someone who is anti-choice and pro-gun and we believe what he said," she said. "We cannot find the documents that absolve from that conclusion, so what women have won through Roe and a host of privacy cases, to be able to control their own reproductive systems to have basic privacy rights, really are extraordinarily important to this side of the aisle." 

Feinstein criticized Kavanaugh for dissenting from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision last year that allowed an undocumented teen in federal custody to obtain an abortion. 

She said Kavanaugh argued that even though the young woman had complied with the Texas parental notification law and secured an approval from a judge she should have been barred. 

“In making your argument, you ignored and I believe mischaracterized a Supreme Court precedent,” she said. “You reasoned that Jane Doe should be unable to exercise her right to choose because she did not have family and friends to make her decision.”

Feinstein said that argument rewrites Supreme Court precedent and if adopted would require courts to determine whether a young woman had a sufficient support network when making her decision even in cases where she has gone to court.

— Lydia Wheeler

Durbin questions review of records

10:45 a.m.

Durbin criticized Grassley for allowing an outside lawyer for former President George W. Bush to decide that over hundred thousand documents from Kavanaugh's record should be kept confidential.

Durbin said when he met with Kavanaugh he asked who William Burck was.

"By what authority is this man holding back hundreds of thousands of documents from the American people?" he asked. "Who is he? Who's paying him?"

Durbin said a private attorney has determined that 147,000 documents should be outside the reach of the committee and the American public.

— Lydia Wheeler

22 protesters arrested during hearing

10:39 a.m.

Twenty-two people were arrested after they protesting the confirmation hearing, U.S. Capitol Police said.

Protesters could be heard urging senators to vote no on Kavanaugh's confirmation and to adjourn.

Those arrested Tuesday were charged with disorderly conduct, according to a Capitol Police spokeswoman, who said that an update would be provided at the end of the day. 

— Michael Burke

Cornyn: Kavanaugh hearing dissolving into 'mob rule' 

10:35 a.m. 

Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, took another shot at Democrats on the Judiciary Committee saying the hearing was being run by "mob rule."

"This is the first confirmation hearing that I've seen basically according to mob rule. We have rules in the Senate. We have norms for decorum," Cornyn said. 

Cornyn added that it was "hard to take seriously their claim that somehow they can't do their job ... when they've already made up their mind before the hearing."  

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) fired back that Democrats were simply asking for the "regular order." 

— Jordain Carney

Grassley defends handling of "confidential" documents

10:28 a.m. 

Grassley defended his handling of documents marked "committee confidential," saying he had allowed "unprecedented access" to the material. 

Grassley said he made documents classified as "committee confidential" — which restricts access to Judiciary Committee members — available to the entire Senate and made his staff available for helping other offices sort through the paperwork. 

"This is unprecedented access to committee confidential material," Grassley said. 

Grassley added that he told Democrats that if they wanted to reference "committee confidential" material during the hearing that he would work with them to get the designation lifted so they could be discussed publicly. 

Grassley said only one Democratic senator, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), requested that the designation be lifted on some of the "committee confidential" paperwork. Grassley said Klobuchar requested the designation be lifted on four pages of documents. 

"If my colleagues truly believed that other committee confidential documents should have been made public they never told me about them," Grassley said. 

He added that "instead of scaring the American people by suggesting that we are hiding some incriminating documents they should have made a request that I get the committee confidential designation removed." 

— Jordain Carney  

Tillis questions Dems motives 

10:20 a.m. 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisNorth Carolina governor: We saw ‘significant damage’ in eastern part of state GOP senator on allegation against Kavanaugh: 'Why on Earth' wasn't it discussed earlier? North Carolina senator: Damage from Florence 'in the billions of dollars' MORE (R-N.C.) said he thought Democrats were protesting not having enough time to review 42,000 documents on Kavanaugh's record, which were released late last night. 

But he said he just saw a tweet from NBC's Kasie Hunt reporting that Democrats plotted a coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHouse Dems push to delay Kavanaugh vote for investigation Democrats should end their hypocrisy when it comes to Kavanaugh and the judiciary Celebrities back both Cuomo and Nixon as New Yorkers head to primary vote MORE (D-N.Y.) led a phone call with Democrats. 

Tillis asked if any of the members on the committee strategized over the weekend to protest the hearings before the additional documents were released.

Durbin said there was a phone conference Monday and one of the issues that came up was that over 100,000 documents on Kavanaugh's record have been characterized by Grassley as committee confidential. 

"Committee confidential documents have really been limited to extraordinary circumstances," he said.

Durbin said one of the discussions on the call Monday was whether the committee is going to hear a nominee without access to basic information about his public record. 

"There was a conversation yesterday about these document," he said. "I had no idea at 11 o'clock last night that 42,000 more documents would be put on top of us and we'd be asked to take them up today, so it added insult to injury." 

— Lydia Wheeler

Grassley says hearing could go into the weekend

10:15 a.m.

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) floated that the hearing could extend into the weekend. 

"We hopefully get that done Friday but if we have to go into Saturday and Sunday, we'll go Saturday and Sunday until we get it all done," Grassley said. 

The GOP senator was responding to a question from Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), who wanted clarification for how the committee hearing would proceed as the first roughly 45 minutes of the hearing have been dominated by Democratic interrupting the committee meeting. 

Kavanaugh's hearing is expected to wrap up on Friday. 

Committee members are giving opening statements on Tuesday. Kavanaugh is expected to face questions on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will be dedicated to outside witnesses testifying on Kavanaugh and broader legal issues.

— Jordain Carney 

Grassley: We're not voting on Dem motion to adjourn 

10:08 a.m. 

Grassley repeatedly shot down Democratic requests to adjourn or postpone the hearing. 

"I shouldn't have to explain to you, we're having a hearing. It's out of order," Grassley told the committee after Blumenthal renewed his request to adjourn. "We won't vote on Senator Blumenthal's suggestion."  

Democrats continued to ask for a vote, but Grassley repeatedly banged his gavel and said the motion was "denied."  

Blumenthal urged the committee to go into executive session and warned if they did not have a vote the committee's handling of Kavanaugh's nomination "will be tainted and stained forever." 

"I think we're entitled to a vote on it," he added. 

Republicans appeared to be growing frustrated with the Democratic tactics. 

Kennedy questioned Grassley what the "ground rules" of the hearings are and if senators would be allowed to continue to interrupt each other. 

— Jordain Carney 

Feinstein said Democrats are not trying to 'create a disruption'

10:05 a.m.

Feinstein slammed Republicans for "casting aside tradition for speed" in confirming judicial nominees without the full judicial record of Kavanaugh.

Feinstein said 93 percent of the of records from Kavanaugh's time in the White House have not been given to the committee.    

"I think you have to understand the frustration on this side of the aisle," she said. "Everyone wants to do a good job, they want time to consider what the findings are." 

Feinstein said Democrats aren't requesting to postpone the hearings to create a disruption. 

"It's not to make this a very bad process, it's to say 'Majority, give us the time to do our work,'" she said. 

— Lydia Wheeler  

Cornyn: Democrats would be 'held in contempt' if this was a courtroom

9:58 a.m.

Cornyn said if Democrats interrupted a courtroom the way they did the hearing then they would be held in contempt of court.

“I would suggest if this were a court of law, virtually every member … on that side would be held in contempt of court because this whole process is supposed to be a civil one where people get to ask questions and we get to get answers.”

— Lydia Wheeler

Kavanaugh introduces family

9:53 a.m.

“I’m honored to be here with my family," Kavanaugh said introducing his wife, Ashley, "a proud West Texan" and his daughters, Margaret and Liza.

“Thanks to the committee for arranging a day off from school today,” he said.  

He then introduced his parents, aunt and uncle and two first cousins, who were in attendance for the first day of his confirmation hearings. The morning proceedings have repeatedly been interrupted by protesters, urging the committee to cancel the hearings and vote no on his nomination. 

— Lydia Wheeler 

Grassley: No reason to delay hearing

9:50 a.m.

Grassley fired back at Democrats after they tried to adjourn the hearing, saying there was "no reason" to delay. 

"Senators have had more than enough time ... to adequately access Judge Kavanaugh's qualifications," Grassley said.

He added that his staff had already read the 42,000 pages handed over to the committee Monday on a "committee confidential" basis and there was "no reason to delay the hearing." 

"We have received and read every page of Judge Kavanaugh's extensive record," Grassley said.

— Jordain Carney 

Democrats move to adjourn 

9:45 a.m.

Democrats immediately made an unsuccessful bid to adjourn the hearing, arguing they hadn't had time review more than 42,000 documents handed over to the committee on Monday. 

Democrats, one after one, interrupted Grassley, who was trying to give an opening statement, to lambast the committee's process on handling Kavanaugh's documents and urged Grassley to adjourn the hearing until they had time to review the new paperwork. 

Blumenthal called the committee's handling of the documents a "charade" and a "mockery" to the chamber. 

"If we cannot be recognized I move to adjourn," Blumenthal said. "We have been denied real access to the documents we need."  

Grassley argued that they weren't in executive session and so they would not hold a vote on adjourning the committee hearing. 

Democrats began interrupting Grassley almost as soon as he started trying to give his opening statement. 

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) argued that the senators could not "possibly move forward" given the late hand over of documents. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) added that Democrats believed this hearing "should be postponed." 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) tried to appeal to Grassley's "decency" — but he was also shot down.

“What is the rush what are we trying to hide by not having the documents up front," Booker said as Grassley continued to slowly bang his gavel. "We are rushing through this process in a way that's unnecessary."  

Grassley said he wanted to respond to Booker, but when we started by saying he “respected very much a lot of things” he had to say, he was immediately interrupted by protesters screaming out from the audience.

Protestors continued to interrupt Grassley as he tried to move forward or respond to Democrats.

"This should be an impeachment proceeding and not a confirmation hearing," one said.

— Jordain Carney and Lydia Wheeler 

Grassley escorts Kavanaugh in

9:31 a.m.

Grassley escorted Kavanaugh into the committee room just after 9:30 a.m. for the start of his confirmation hearings.

Kavanaugh, who was accompanied by his wife, Ashley, and two daughters, was met by a swarm of photographers all clicking their cameras.

After he was seated, Kennedy came down from the bench to say hello.

— Lydia Wheeler

Rosenstein at Kavanaugh hearing

9:25 a.m.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE is at Kavanaugh's Supreme Court hearing. 

Rosenstein's entrance caused a flurry of activity in the packed committee room. A pack of photographers, who were awaiting Kavanaugh, packed around the embattled Justice Department official to get a photo. 

GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) also briefly came over to Rosenstein to greet him. 

Rosenstein — whose role overseeing the Russia probe has made him a frequent punching bag of Trump — subsequently took a seat in the front row of the hearing.  

— Jordain Carney 

Demonstrators dress as 'handmaids' to protest Kavanaugh

9:15 a.m.

Women dressed as handmaids stood lining the halls outside the hearing room.

The protesters, wearing costumes representing the characters from the TV series “Handmaid’s Tale,” are with Demand Justice, a liberal advocacy group fighting Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Organizers for the group chose not to answer questions from The Hill, but provided a statement announcing they were there to ring the alarm about Kavanaugh’s “anti-abortion, anti-healthcare and anti-women" views.

“Brett Kavanaugh is an extremist ideologue who, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, will take away women’s basic rights,” the groups’ statement read.

The protesters were portraying the characters in the popular dystopian drama on Hulu where women are forced into sexual servitude.

In their statement, Demand Justice said they believe Kavanaugh will end abortion care, let bosses make health care decisions for women, give the government control over immigrant women’s bodies and take health care away from people with pre-existing conditions.

“Right now in America, far too many women of color cannot access safe, affordable healthcare and the ability to decide whether, when and how to raise thriving families is out of reach,” they said.

“Brett Kavanaugh will take this already harsh reality and make it worse.”

— Lydia Wheeler

Kavanaugh calls Kennedy a 'mentor' and a 'friend' in opening statement

7:30 a.m.

Kavanaugh will stress the importance of judicial independence and teamwork during his opening statement to the committee according to excerpts of his statement which were released by the White House.

In his opening statement, Kavanaugh stresses that he has worked to not favor prosecutors or defendants in his career, and assures senators that he will not decide cases based on policy positions.

"A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy. … I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge," he says in the remarks.

"To me, Justice Kennedy is a mentor, a friend, and a hero," Kavanaugh added of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose seat he has been nominated to take on the court.

"As a Member of the Court, he was a model of civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the Judiciary. And he was a champion of liberty," Kavanaugh added.

— John Bowden