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Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings Heat Up as President Questions Free Speech

— September 7, 2018

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has passed his third day of confirmation hearings.

Three days and dozens of altercations. According to Fox News, 69 people were removed from the Capitol on Thursday alone.

Police say that another 37 were removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s room in the Hart Senate Office Building. All of them, reports Fox, were charged with disorderly conduct.

A dozen outside were allegedly “participating in unlawful demonstration activities during a break.” They, too, were charged with disorderly conduct, along with crowding, obstructing or incommoding.

The total number of people arrested since Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings began sits at 74.

Republican senators have expressed plenty of frustration with the interruptions.

Of all the comments addressing the protests, few have raised more eyebrows than President Donald Trump’s.

In an unsurprisingly unconstitutional but unusually noxious take on politics, the nation’s chief executive wondered aloud why protesting is even permitted.

“I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters, you don’t even know which side the protesters were on,” Trump said. “But to allow someone to stand up and scream from the top of their lungs and nobody does anything about it is frankly—I think it’s an embarrassment.”

Trump’s remarks were reportedly spurred by a reporter’s question on whether the president had kept up with Democrats efforts to topple Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“Have you kept up with it?” a reporter asked, prompting a lengthy outburst about free speech from a man entrusted with defending the First Amendment.

“I’m amazed that people allow the interruption to continue,” Trump said. “You know, there are some people that just keep screaming at the same people. In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today I guess they just keep screaming.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was, as Trump later noted, particularly bothered by the frequent outbursts.

“I don’t know that the committee should have put up with the type of insolence taking place in this room today,” Hatch said. He’d earlier asked a Judiciary Committee member to have a “loudmouth” removed from the chamber.

While Kavanaugh’s candidacy is doubtlessly attracting extraordinary criticism due to his sponsor being President Trump, their worries are not without reason. Trump has indicated, at least in the past, that’d he like to forward a socially conservative agenda—one that could press the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and re-evaluate issues like the nationwide legality of gay marriage.

“The protests are not normal, but these are not normal times,” said Jennifer Epps-Addison, network president and co-executive director for the Center for Popular Democracy Action. Epps-Addion’s organization helped coordinate the capitol protests. “These women are standing up because they know if they’re quiet now and they allow these rigged, shamed hearings to proceed, their lives are going to be impacted in the future.”


Donald Trump just wondered why protests are allowed. Yes, really.

Kavanaugh hearing protests continue as Capitol Police charge 69 demonstrators Thursday

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Protesters urged to disrupt Brett Kavanaugh hearings: ‘These are not normal times’

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