WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee brushed aside a flurry of Democratic attempts to delay the consideration of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday, sticking with a schedule that could see him confirmed by Oct. 1.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut protested as soon as the hearing gaveled opened Thursday. He says the nomination will be “tainted” and “stained” by the unusual process for vetting the nominee.
“We lack the time. We lack the documents.” He called it a “badly broken process.”
The committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, sought a subpoena for documents from Kavanaugh’s time as Bush’s staff secretary. She said Thursday senators “should be able to see this record” and wondered, “What in Judge Kavanaugh’s records are Republicans hiding?”
The Republicans have declined to pursue Kavanaugh’s staff secretary documents, saying it would be too cumbersome. They rejected Feinstein’s motion and several others, including motions to subpoena documents and witnesses and a motion to adjourn.
Chairman Chuck Grassley set the panel’s vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee for Sept. 20. Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh by the start of the new court session Oct. 1.
New documents released ahead of Thursday’s hearing included Kavanaugh’s 263-page written response to questions from senators, along with dozens of files from the judge’s work in the George W. Bush White House that had been available to senators only on a “committee confidential basis.” Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey made the Bush documents public.
In new written responses released late Wednesday, Kavanaugh says he would have shaken the hand of a school shooting victim’s father during a break in last week’s Senate hearing had he recognized him before being whisked away by security detail.
Kavanaugh’s explanation for the encounter with Fred Guttenberg- captured in an Associated Press photo that went viral on social media - was among a 263-page response to written questions from senators on a range of issues including abortion, executive power and his personal finances.
Kavanaugh wrote that he assumed the man who approached him, introduced himself, “and touched my arm” during a break at the Senate Judiciary Committee proceedings had been one of the many protesters in the hearing room. Guttenberg’s 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was among 17 people killed on Feb. 14 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.