Almost 150 people were arrested during the first two days of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, including Muslim activist Linda Sarsour and actress Piper Perabo.
By the end of the morning session on Tuesday, the first day, law enforcement had arrested nearly a dozen protesters, both inside and outside the Senate, according to reports from the U.S. Capitol Police. By the end of the second day, that number had more than quadrupled to 143 arrests. And more protesters disrupted the proceedings on Day 3.
Tuesday’s arrests started when Sarsour stood up and called to adjourn the hearing.
“This is a mockery and a travesty of justice,” Sarsour said. Then, she called out for senators to “cancel Brett Kavanaugh,” before being forcibly removed by police alongside the Women’s March co-founder Bob Bland and "Covert Affairs" actor Piper Perabo.
“I was protesting because this president is an unindicted co-conspirators in a felony criminal investigation,” Perabo told VICE News. “I believe, he should not be allowed to choose a judge until that is resolved, especially a judge that believes the president is above the law.”
The first day of the hearings didn’t start for hours, partly because protesters continued to yell and interrupt the opening remarks — as well as Democrats’ attempts to stop the proceedings over thousands of unreleased documents from Kavanaugh’s time in George W. Bush’s White House.
By the end of the day Tuesday, a total of 70 people were arrested.
On both days of the hearing so far, protesters, clad in scarlet-red Handmaid's Tale capes and T-shirts emblazoned with “I Am What's At Stake” and “Reproductive Freedom For All,” were a constant presence. Most were charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct. Others were removed for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” the hearing or “unlawful demonstration activities,” according to CNN.
Along with Sarsour, Bland, and Perabo, women’s advocacy group UltraViolet executive director and co-founder Shaunna Thomas was also arrested on Tuesday. She told the Cut that the protests and arrests were “more necessary than ever.”
“The outcome of this will impact our generation and our children’s generation,” Thomas said. “[Kavanaugh] is on the wrong side of the American people, and we know that if we put him on court, he will overturn Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, gut the Affordable Care Act, roll back LGBTQ rights, end affirmative action, and chip away at voting rights. There is no community who wouldn’t be deeply touched in an incredibly dangerous way.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, protesters called on Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris to “be a hero” and not confirm Kavanaugh. By the end of Harris’s questioning, the entire last two rows of the room were cleared out by security. Winnie Wong, a senior adviser to the Women's March, told CNN that these protests weren’t random: Advocacy groups across the U.S. partnered together to make sure the process was sufficiently disrupted.
“This is well-organized and scripted. This isn't chaos,” Wong said outside the hearing rooms on Wednesday. “It's exercising your constitutional rights.”
Gabrielle Bluestone contributed to this report.
Cover image: Protesters of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, protest while wearing costumes from the show "The Handmaid's Tale," during his confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, during the second day of the confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)