WASHINGTON—A week of posturing, protests, and partisanship came to a close Friday, with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh surviving and likely advancing on to take his seat on the high court. Friday’s segment offered an anti-climatic end to the proceedings, with many members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Kavanaugh not in attendance to hear 26 witnesses testify on the judge’s character, qualifications, and his perceived position on a host of controversial issues.
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, plans to hold a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination next Thursday, but Democrats could delay that action for another week. Grassley would then force a vote on Sept. 20 to send the nomination to the Senate floor. With Republican majorities on the committee and in the full Senate, and no known GOP opposition, Kavanaugh should sail on through and find himself on the court in time for its new session beginning on Oct. 1.
On Friday, Republicans and Democrats lined up 13 witnesses each. The GOP side included mostly former Kavanaugh law clerks and people who knew him personally, all of whom emphasized his kindness, judicial record, and professional qualifications. The Democratic witnesses, however, went for the emotional jugular: A 17-year-old Parkland shooting survivor spoke about gun violence, a woman with cerebral palsy talked about healthcare, and former Nixon White House lawyer and key Watergate figure John Dean spoke on presidential power. Their testimonies tended to focus on personal experiences tied to an overarching policy concern.
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