Two protesters disrupt Supreme Court hearing
Washington (AP) — An anti-abortion protester briefly disrupted the opening of Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination hearing, and a second person did the same a short time later.
The outburst came during Sen. Dianne Feinstein's opening statement Monday. A man in room interrupted her remarks by shouting: "Senator. What about the unborn!" He called abortion "genocide.
Capitol Police identified the protester as Robert James, from Virginia. He was charged with unlawful conduct and disruption of Congress.
A second person shouted from the rear a short time later.
"The officer will remove the person. ... You are guests of the Senate while you are here. Everybody is a guest of the Senate. Judge Sotomayor deserves the respect of being heard," said committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. "No outburst will be allowed."
The cause of the second protester was not immediately clear.
Security quickly took him out. Sotomayor turned her head briefly toward her family and friends seated in the front row as the man was taken away and his shouts faded.
The episode prompted a warning by committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy that no displays for or against the nominee would be tolerated from observers.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)