Democrats force Senate to adjourn to protest Kavanaugh

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) on Wednesday forced Republicans to adjourn the Senate for the day to protest what he called the unfair withholding of documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's record. 

Schumer objected to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season Trump: McConnell should keep Senate in session until nominees are approved MORE’s (R-Ky.) request that the Judiciary Committee be allowed to continue its confirmation hearing beyond the two-hour limit set by the chamber’s rules.

Such requests are usually granted routinely, but Schumer balked as a protest of the number of documents that have yet to be shared with Senate Democrats.


“Over 90 percent of Judge Kavanaugh’s record has not been received by the Senate and may never be. What has been delivered to the committee was prescreened by a Republican lawyer with no guidelines as to what we were receiving and what we weren’t,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.

McConnell decided to adjourn the Senate for the day to get around Schumer’s objection.

Senate rules state that committees cannot hold hearings for more than two hours while the Senate is in session unless there is unanimous consent to proceed.

A spokesman for Schumer said “Republicans have made a mockery of this process by withholding millions of pages of documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s records.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Grassley raises voice after McConnell interrupts Senate speech MORE (R-Iowa) vowed to colleagues earlier in the day that the committee would complete the first round of questioning, in which each senator gets 30 minutes to grill the nominee, no matter what.

A GOP aide told reporters on Friday that if Democrats invoked the so-called two-hour rule that Republicans would simply adjourn the hearing and deprive Democrats of the chance to ask the nominee questions.

But McConnell decided Wednesday that having a full hearing for Kavanaugh was more important than pending floor business.

“Unfortunately some of the hijinks continue even on the Senate floor,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Texas), in Kavanaugh’s hearing. “That’s unfortunate.”

Democrats on the Judiciary panel during the first two days of Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings have repeatedly objected to the number of records missing from their review of the nominee's past work, pressing for a delay of the proceedings. 

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

Jordain Carney contributed.