Democrats walk out of hearing room in protest

Four Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee walked out of the hearing room in protest after Republicans decided along party lines to schedule a “time certain” vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for 1:30 p.m.

Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDems ask if Trump aide Bill Shine is breaking ethics laws Senators want assurances from attorney general pick on fate of Mueller probe Dems vs. Trump: Breaking down the lawsuits against Whitaker MORE (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoRubio: ‘I don’t know’ if Nauert has 'detailed knowledge' to succeed as UN ambassador Overnight Defense: Nauert tapped for UN envoy | Trump teases changes to Joint Chiefs of Staff | Trump knocks Tillerson as 'dumb as a rock' | Scathing report details Air Force failures before Texas shooting Dem senator slams Nauert's lack of 'qualifications' for UN ambassador MORE (D-Hawaii) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisO'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll Kamala Harris to keep seat on Judiciary Committee California dreamin’ in the 2020 presidential race MORE (D-Calif.) walked out of the room, causing a burst of activity from photographers in the well of the hearing room who captured the moment.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I strongly object. This is just totally ridiculous. What a railroad job. My answer is no, no, no!” Hirono yelled out shortly before leaving the room.

Harris declined to vote, staying silent to protest Republicans handling of the nomination, as did Booker.

A clearly frustrated Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — House passes bill to stop drug companies overcharging Medicaid | Incoming Dem chairman open to 'Medicare For All' hearings | Bill to reduce maternal mortality rates passes House House passes bill to keep drug companies from overcharging Medicaid Pence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, rebuked the photographers for standing up to snap shots of the Democratic protest, obstructing the view of the audience, and threatened to kick them out.

“I’m sure a lot of people are irritated right now,” Grassley said as he wrapped up his comments.

He also reproached Harris for remaining silent during the roll call scheduling a vote on Kavanaugh.

“It breaks our rules and customs,” Grassley said.

The panel is expected to approve Kavanaugh's confirmation on Friday given the support of a key Republican, Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge Dem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving Flake: Republican Party ‘is a frog slowly boiling in water’ MORE (Ariz.).

The Democrats who walked out held what they said was an impromptu press conference outside the committee room.

“This is about raw power. You’re seeing that in displayed in this hearing this morning, you’ve been seeing it from the process in the beginning,” Harris said.

Hirono said Kavanaugh’s opening statement was too partisan to be a Supreme Court justice.

“I have never heard a Supreme Court justice come out and say there is a vast left-wing conspiracy to undermine his nomination,” she said.

She also said Democrats had not coordinated the walkout.

“We did not coordinate walking out. You know we feel this in here,” he said pointing to her heart.

Lydia Wheeler contributed.