The Supreme Battle Ground… Children will play.

Two potential Democratic presidential contenders fired the starting pistol on 2020 on Thursday.

Image result for Cory Booker and Kamala Harris

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), whispering to each other throughout and appearing as allies, unloaded on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on the final day of hearings in a last-ditch effort to delay or derail his confirmation.

It does not appear that any of the blows they landed will change the basic math facing Democrats – there are 51 Republicans in the Senate and Kavanaugh needs only a simple majority for confirmation.

But liberals are furious at Democratic leadership for not doing enough to stop Kavanaugh. The Capitol Police arrested more than 200 people this week for unlawful demonstrations at the hearings.

Booker and Harris responded by pulling out all the stops. In the process, both senators bolstered their 2020 bona fides and generated clips that can be woven into future campaign ads.

The Hill: Centrist Democrats defend tough tactics at Kavanaugh hearing.

The Hill: Democrats up the ante in Kavanaugh hearings.

How Booker played it…

The New Jersey Democrat threw the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into chaos early on, announcing he would release “confidential” documents from Kavanaugh’s time as a White House lawyer.

Republicans were apoplectic, with Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) shouting at Booker and questioning whether he would release his own emails. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) read aloud from a statute that says a lawmaker can be expelled from the Senate for releasing privileged documents.

Booker stood his ground, describing it as his “I am Spartacus moment.”

Democrats on the committee backed him up, saying if Booker were to be expelled that Republicans would have to expel all of them.

“Bring it on,” Booker said, his office releasing the tranche of emails to the press shortly after.

There was a catch – Republicans soon discovered that the “classified” emails Booker had released were actually approved for release by the committee earlier in the morning.  They accused Booker of grandstanding under false premises.

We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly.”Bill Burck, the George W. Bush lawyer who led the review of Kavanaugh’s records related to his time as a White House lawyer

Later in the day, Booker made sure there was no mistake – he released new batches of emails from Kavanaugh’s time as a White House lawyer that hadn’t been cleared for public release.

It doesn’t appear that anything Booker released was a game-changer in the nomination process, but liberals loved the fight, even if it sets a new precedent that could come back to bite Democrats in a future confirmation process.

The Wall Street Journal: Booker’s stunts and distortions need correcting.

How Harris played it…

While Booker leaned on his flair for theatrics, Harris, the former attorney general of California, leveraged her prosecutorial skills to keep Kavanaugh off balance.

Kavanaugh’s testimony through the grueling back-to-back 12-hour sessions was mostly steady. Harris seemed to be the only Democrat who had him questioning himself.

On Thursday, Harris heavily implied that the appellate court judge had an improper conversation with a lawyer at one of Trump’s legal firms about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. It took about 24 hours for Kavanaugh to unequivocally deny the allegations and he struggled mightily over the question in the interim — even when Republicans gave him opportunities to clear it up.

Harris also touched on nearly every hot-button issue that energizes progressive voters.

Kavanaugh dodged questions from Harris on whether he would recuse himself from a criminal case involving Trump, as well as questions about immigration, civil rights and abortion.

The president was watching.

“Do you believe the anger and the meanness on the other side? It’s sick.” – Trump at a rally in Billings, Mont., last night.

Perspectives

Hans A. von Spakovsky: Kavanaugh proves he won’t be a Dem punching bag despite partisan pummeling.

Erwin Chemerinsky: Kavanaugh’s nonsense about being an ‘umpire.’

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): Blame Congress for politicizing the courts.

Special thanks to The Hill

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