U.S. Capitol Police Arrest 22+ at Kavanaugh 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, DC. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the court left by …
Mark Wilson/Getty
IAN MASON

The Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh had a noisy start Tuesday as U.S. Capitol Police arrested more than 22 activists opposed to Kavanaugh for disorderly conduct.

The protesters stood, shouted, and waived signs in the crowded Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room. Some of the shouts of those trying to interrupt the proceedings from the gallery echoed the same arguments from Democrats trying to derail them from the dais, including complaints about certain documents being released to senators Monday night and the overall inappropriateness of holding the hearings without delay.

The protesters spouted off, individually or in small groups, in succession, often timed to add an air of chaos to already tense debate among of the senators at the head of the room. Some held signs indicating affiliation with Code Pink, a leftist outgrowth of the anti-Iraq War movement that now focuses primarily on opposition to President Donald Trump.

The effect was have a near constant element of noise and disorder in a setting which is usually sedate. Fox News’s Chad Pegram claimed the disruption was such that “no one in the room” could hear the proceedings:

As of 10:19 a.m. Eastern, Pegram quoted Capitol Police saying 22 had been arrested so far, with the primary charge being disorderly conduct, which is a typical charge for those who interrupt congressional hearings or cause other disruptions at the Capitol:

More protesters, however, continued to attempt to disrupt the hearing, even as Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), finally was able to deliver his opening statement after over an hour of continuous interruption but Senate Democrats and protesters. They too were arrested, according to Pegram and other reporters in the hearing room:

Some of these later arresttees, according to Pegram, were upset at their treatment by Capitol Police:

Capitol Police did not release an updated arrest tally, but a photograph posted to Twitter by NBC News reporter Frank Thorp indicates the same of the activists attempts at disruption:

Despite the protesters efforts and Senate Democrats corresponding attempt to stop the hearings, Grassley was able to deliver his opening, and the hearing was able to begin in earnest. Later, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a former Judiciary Committee chairman, objected when his own statement — in which he strongly opposed Kavanaugh — was interrupted by a screaming protester at the back of the room.

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