Senate Democrats closed down the chamber floor Wednesday to protest the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.
The hearings were able to continue, but only after the GOP agreed to quit floor business for the rest of the day.
Under Senate rules, committees need consent from both sides of the aisle to meet into the afternoon when the floor is also in session. Consent is almost always granted — but on Wednesday, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer refused, saying he was fed up with the push to confirm the judge to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
“We will not consent to business as usual on the Senate floor today,” he said.
His move comes after liberal groups protested that he and fellow Democrats weren’t doing enough to block Judge Kavanaugh’s elevation to the high court.
Yet Democrats have little structural power, having curtailed the filibuster with their own “nuclear option” maneuver in 2013.
That’s left them with few options other than to demand delays and attempt other obstructions.
Even with the floor stall, it’s not clear that it’s blocking anything from happening.
There was no specific order of business set for the floor this afternoon, and Democrats have already committed to allow votes on eight lower court judges this week — an agreement the GOP said remains in effect.