Supreme circus

Anyone who doubts how deeply divided our country is on cultural issues, particularly the right to an abortion, must have missed the Tuesday U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

More than two dozen protesters, shouting one by one, disrupted the hearing at several points before being removed by police.

“This is a mockery and a travesty of justice,” shouted one woman. “Cancel Brett Kavanaugh!”

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, raised objections from the moment Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, gaveled the committee to order.

“We have not been given an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing on this nominee,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., made several motions to adjourn, adding if the confirmation continued, “this process will be tainted and stained forever.”

These actions led Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to denounce what he called the “mob rule” by liberals.

Why so much uproar?

For several years, now retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was thought of as the “swing” vote on divisive cultural issues, particularly abortion. He was considered someone who was in favor of the Roe v. Wade ruling from 1973, which found a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The eight remaining justices on the court now generally fall into the liberal camp (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan) and the conservative group (Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Neil Gorsuch).

This means Kavanaugh, if ultimately confirmed, likely would become the decisive vote on a challenge to Roe v. Wade. Democrats believe he may vote to overturn the ruling.

Among Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only two senators who seem open to voting against Kavanaugh, though neither has said she would do so.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both D-N.H., have made it clear they oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Still, we wholeheartedly urge them to avoid engaging in the type of hysteria their fellow liberals displayed on Tuesday.