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Interruptions at Supreme Court confirmation hearings have been rising since the 1980s

The Conversation: “Depending on who you ask, the American people saw very different things in the riveting testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. To some, Kavanaugh’s behavior was the self-indulgent temper tantrum of an angry and entitled man. To others, it was the understandable – even laudable – reaction of a man pushed too far, forced to defend his honor. There are no obvious ways to bridge this perception gap. The meaning of Kavanaugh’s display, it appears, is in the eye of the beholder. To us, as legal scholars, it was a stunning display from a sitting federal judge. We have, for more than a decade, studied Supreme Court confirmation hearings in minute detail, and we have never seen anything like it. Even Clarence Thomas’s striking metaphor in 1991, denouncing his confirmation hearing a “high-tech lynching,” did not openly invoke such raw partisanship or vengeful threats such as Kavanaugh’s “what goes around comes around.” But, as scholars of the confirmation process, we aim to measure what is measurable, in the hope that data can inform our more subjective perceptions of politics. And one measurable feature of Kavanaugh’s testimony is the striking number of times he interrupted the senators to challenge their comments or force his own point. Here, the historical record can shed some light…[h/t Pete Weiss]

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