Democrats force Senate to adjourn to protest Kavanaugh

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTo save the Postal Service, bring it online White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Schumer declines to say whether Trump executive orders are legal: They don't 'do the job' 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 McConnellTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks 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 GrassleyTrump puts trade back on 2020 agenda McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe 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 CornynCOVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance From a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters Skepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal 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.