Tensions flare

Protesters dragged out at opening day of Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearing

Protesters disrupt the start of the Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 4, 2018 in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing got off to a wild start on Tuesday as protesters shouted their disapproval of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and were consequently dragged out of the room on Capitol Hill. Some of the demonstrators voicing their disapproval of Kavanaugh were from the women’s peace activist group Code Pink, others were the Women’s March.

Outside the Senate chamber where the hearing was taking place, demonstrators dressed like characters from The Handmaid’s Tale, the popular Hulu series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name. Kavanaugh’s position on abortion rights and the concern that he could be a swing vote that leads to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade being overturned were at the core of the tensions surrounding the beginning of his confirmation process.

At the outset of the hearing, Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour led a group of demonstrators who were there to disrupt the hearing from taking place. As they shouted out their disapproval of Kavanaugh, Capitol police hauled them out of the room. “This is a mockery and a travesty of justice,” one woman shouted. “Cancel Brett Kavanaugh!” another called out. “Senators, we need to stop this,” said another. Many expressed concerns about abortion rights.

Demonstrators from Code Pink were seen carrying signs that read, “Roe- Yes Kava – Nope.” Senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota all called for the hearing to be delayed. But Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley insisted the hearing must go forward, and it did. All told, according to CNN, the Women’s March said at least 30 of its members had been arrested protesting on Tuesday.

Of course, as PBS News correspondent Lisa Desjardins pointed out on Twitter, there were other protesters on hand as well. Pro-life ralliers, who want Kavanaugh confirmed, were seen outside the building carrying signs that read, “#Justice4Life Confirm Kavanaugh.”

As for Kavanaugh, the 53-year-old federal appeals court judge made an opening statement in which he vowed to be fair and not rock the Supreme Court boat should he wind up on the high court’s bench.  “A good judge must be an umpire, a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy,” Kavanaugh said. “I would always strive to be a team player on the Team of Nine.” He then finished with remarks about his mother and how she started as a schoolteacher and, when he was 10 years old, enrolled herself in law school and went on to become a prosecutor.

For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at The Associated Press

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