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Senate Judiciary Committee delays vote on Brett Kavanaugh confirmation

Following days of questioning by lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee has decided to move the committee vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court to next week. Chairman Grassley announced during the morning session that the committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh will now be held over until next week's regular business meeting on September 20, at 1:45 p.m. after the committee voted 11-10 in its favor. 

The first step in Kavanaugh's confirmation is highly expected to pass out of committee on a straight party-line vote. 

Under the committee rules, any member can ask for a one-week delay on the vote of a nominee. After numerous Democrats deployed a strategy of holding up hearing business, citing lack of access to documents pertaining to Kavanaugh's record, the minority pushed for another delay in the confirmation process.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, began the committee's business by motioning to adjourn "to make sure we have the time and information we need,  the documents, the facts, the witnesses in order to proceed on the Kavanaugh nomination."

"This nomination is going to be tainted, it will be stained by process...broken the traditions of this committee." He added the nomination was rushed through to judgment in a "highly partisan and unfortunately failed way."

Blumenthal argued that there's an "even more urgent and pressing duty to get those documents and having witnesses to enable us to evaluate serious concerns raised as a result of evasive and seemingly misleading answers given to us at the hearing."

Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein later motioned to subpoena additional records from Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary in the Bush White House, calling Grassley's lack of support in requesting Kavanaugh's full record from the Archives a "devastating blow against transparency." Republicans swiftly defeated Feinstein's motion to subpoena Kavanaugh documents in a 10-11 vote. 

In a third effort by Senate Democrats, Sen. Amy Klobuchar motioned to subpoena the 100,000 documents withheld by the Trump White House relating to Kavanaugh's records from the Bush White House on the basis of presidential privilege. Democrats argued that the documents were needed in order to answer a "fundamental question" of whether or not it was a valid assertion of executive privilege by the president. That motion, like the ones before it, was knocked down by Republicans in a 10-11 vote. 

After over an hour of debate and nearly 5 different Democratic motions pertaining to the Kavanaugh confirmation, regular business resumed for the committee who voted on the confirmation of 13 other lower court judges and U.S. attorneys. 

Following committee action on Kavanaugh, it is then up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule floor debate and a vote.  McConnell could potentially start the floor process on the Kavanaugh nomination as early as Thursday afternoon and the debate and final confirmation vote would happen during the week of Sept. 24.  

This is a developing story.

CBS News' John Nolen contributed to this report

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital