Republicans dismiss Democrats demands for more Kavanaugh records: ‘It’s about delay’
Senate Republicans said by the time they vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court they will have gotten more documents from his past than for the previous five nominees combined.
The lawmakers were pushing back against Democratic complaints that they aren’t going to see all of the judge’s paper trail from his extensive career in government.
Standing in front of a wall of empty file boxes, GOP senators said they could all eventually be filled with the amount of documents the National Archives is already set to turn over from Judge Kavanaugh’s years working for the independent counsel’s office in the 1990s, and later in the Bush White House.
The fight over documents has become the biggest issue in the battle over Judge Kavanaugh, with Democrats insistent that Republicans are trying to whitewash his record by not requesting the files from his time as staff secretary to President George W. Bush. Instead, the GOP has only requested documents from his time in the White House counsel’s office from 2001 to 2003.
Republicans counter that what matters most are the judge’s more than 300 opinions authored during 12 years on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
“Some how the minority leader thinks this is not good enough, but the truth is so many on his side have already voiced their opposition to the nominee,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. “I question their sincerity... what more do they need to know?”
The National Archives and Records Administration estimated there’s roughly 560,000 paper files from Judge Kavanaugh’s time working as staff secretary.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Republicans are trying to keep more than half a million of the nominee’s records hidden from public scrutiny.
“This unprecedented suppression of what should be public records in connection with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is clearly intended to keep critical information from the American people,” Mr. Schumer said Thursday.
But Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said the Democrats’ demand is the “great paper chase.”
He said Democrats weren’t demanding the staff secretary documents when Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed to the appeals court in 2006.
“Why didn’t they even ask for them in 2006?” Mr. Cornyn questioned. “There will never be enough paper. You will never be able to produce enough to satisfy them.”
Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican, said the amount documents that have been requested would be taller than the Statue of Liberty if all stacked up on top of one another.
“I don’t think this process is about discovery, it’s about delay,” he said. “They have thousands of documents they should be reviewing today.”
The National Archives also began releasing thousands of documents this week from Judge Kavanaugh’s time working for independent counsel Ken Starr’s investigation into President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is expected to take place in September, according to Mr. Grassley.