Democratic Sen. Leahy confronts Kavanaugh at contentious hearing: 'You shouldn't be sitting in front of us today'
Sen., Patrick Leahy (D-VT) - screenshot

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) used his opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on Supreme Court nominee Brent Kavanaugh to criticize the GOP for rushing his hearing without time to vet the conservative judge.

"Mr. Chairman the last few minutes we've heard a lot of rhetoric and I think it might serve the committee vote to have some reality," Leahy told committee chairman Sen Chuck Grassley (R-IA). "I've served in the Senate for 44 years and during that span, we had to vote on 19 nominations to the Supreme Court -- I mention this because of a sense of history. Now I've never seen in that 44 years so much at stake with a single seat and I've also never seen such a dangerous rush to fill it."

After pressing Grassley for pushing the hearings over Democratic protestations, Leahy addressed a stone-faced Kavanaugh.

"Your 12 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will loom large during these hearings, the former prosecutor lectured. "But the unknown looms even larger. Before sitting on the bench you were a political operative involved in the most political and partisan controversies our time. During this time you shared your personal views on contentious issues without regard to restrictions imposed by precedent or design and it's precisely those views being hidden from us today."

"I've been on this committee under both Republican and Democratic leadership," Leahy continued. "I've never thought the committee would sink to this. In fact, you shouldn't be sitting in front of us today. You should be sitting in front of us only after we've completed a review of your record, your vetting is less than 10 percent complete."

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