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Dems ask court to block Kavanaugh vote

September 26, 2018

Sen. Jeff Merkley sued Wednesday to block the Senate from voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, arguing the administration has poisoned the process and demanding the federal courts step in.

The long-shot request says that the administration has withheld documents some senators want to see before voting on Judge Kavanaugh. He says that amounts to a violation of the separation of powers.

“The courts MUST intervene to prevent this process from continuing,” he said on Twitter.

His complaint directly blames President Trump, but he’s also suing his own colleagues, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles E. Grassley, who are the top Republicans overseeing the confirmation process.

Demands for documents often lead to prolonged battles in nomination fights.

Courts have generally been reluctant to wade into internal Senate matters such as chamber rules and political fights.

Mr. Merkley argued this goes beyond the usual battles and treads on senators’ duty under the Constitution to provide “advice and consent” on nominations. He said in the lawsuit that withholding information he wants to see means he can’t fully carry out that duty.

He said Mr. Trump and his aides urged Senate Republicans not to request the full panoply of documents in the first place, then blocked access to some documents and released others only to committee members, rather than the public at large.

Another Democrat, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, has also sued asking a judge to order speedy disclosure of millions of pages of documents.

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