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Sen. Sullivan helping Kavanaugh prepare for Tuesday hearing


Sen. Dan Sullivan and a small group of other high-ranking supporters have been working with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to ready him for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that start on Tuesday.

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Exercises like these are known as “murder boards,” or “scrub downs.” Typically in these mock proceedings, attention is paid to every detail, from microphones, to seating arrangements. The person rehearsing is coached and critiqued on everything from attire to how they sip water, to how they answer the questions.

Along with Sullivan, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Rob Portman of Ohio have gathered in a room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and conducted mock hearings with Kavanaugh this week. Hatch is a former Judiciary Committee chairman and current member of the committee, and he played the role of committee chairman during the mock exercises.

The four-day hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 4. The 21-member committee has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats and is chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is the ranking Democrat.

Viewers can watch the live proceedings on 

Live video may also be seen on the Senate livestream here.

The proceedings take place in the Hart Building, Room 216, with an introduction of Kavanaugh by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, and Lisa Blatt, a DC attorney, followed by opening statements by each member of the Judiciary Committee, which will take nearly three hours to complete — if each sticks to his and her 10-minute limit.

Kavanaugh will not say much until Wednesday, when he will deliver his own opening statement and begin to answer questions. Senators have 30 minutes for their first question(s) and 20 minutes for each round that follows.

Republican members of the committee, in addition to Grassley, Hatch, and Graham, include John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana.

The Democrats on the committee, in addition to Feinstein, are Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Chris Coons of Delaware, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

The committee membership and other details are linked here.

Rehearsal for a judicial confirmation is common, but one nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court famously did not take part in them. Robert Bork attended just one murder board and then cancelled the rest of them.

He was not confirmed to the Supreme Court in 1987, but his name became a political verb: To “bork” means to obstruct a candidate by any means possible, especially through systematic defamation and vilification.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. This guy was nominated by President Non Grata, who, btw, is under investigation by a Special Counsel looking into his ties to Russian organized crime.

    It’s no secret that Donald Trump has been a patsy for the Russian Mafia for many years, and yet so many conservative “Patriots” so willingly look the other way when it comes to this incredible fact.

    Dan Sullivan is a willing participant in this scheme, that should speak volumes about his character. Who, besides Len Blavatnik, is paying Dan ?

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