It took mere minutes for the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to devolve into chaos Tuesday. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee joined with protesters to interrupt Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, during his opening statement, and the first hour of the hearing was quickly swallowed up by crosstalk.
The "mob rule" vibe, as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called it at one point, led to some noteworthy whispered quips, as lawmakers kept reacting off-camera to the proceedings with their microphones still turned on. In the midst of some lively protests, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) can be overheard encouraging Grassley to "demand order," while at one point Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) noted reporting from NBC News' Kasie Hunt that the Democrats' disruption had been coordinated via a phone call Monday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was not impressed with Tillis' point, muttering, "This is outrageous."
After Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said the hearing should be held according to the law, Cornyn contended that Democrats would be "held in contempt of court" for their behavior. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was quick to react: