Brett Kavanaugh documents released for Supreme Court nominee research

August 13, 2018

Senators on Sunday released tens of thousands of pages of documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House, sending researchers scurrying as Washington prepares for his confirmation fight.

All sides are now working toward twin deadlines that Republican leaders announced late last week a confirmation hearing beginning Sept. 4 and a final vote in the Senate later that month making the documents that have been released all the more important.

The nearly 90,000 pages of documents released Sunday range from bookkeeping and scheduling matters to legal advice on whether White House employees should be using official or political stationery for thank-you notes.

Democrats are desperate for explosive revelations from within the documents, hoping for something that could derail the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, who sits on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Republicans have set a schedule that will limit the amount of time Democrats have to dig.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, announced Friday that Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing will begin Sept. 4.

“It’s time for the American people to hear directly from Judge Kavanaugh at his public hearing,” Mr. Grassley said.

If the hearing follows past practice, it will involve the judge sitting for a day or two of questions, then his fans and detractors will get at least a day to talk about why he should or shouldn’t be confirmed.

The committee would then give the judge a week to answer written questions and schedule a vote which under panel rules would likely take place the second week after the written answers are received.

Once the nomination clears committee, it can go to the chamber floor, where Democrats can delay it with an attempted filibuster but cannot stop it unless they can win over some Republicans.

If Republicans hold to that schedule, then Judge Kavanaugh may be seated on the high court by Oct. 1, when it begins its 2018-2019 term.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, signaled that goal Friday in an interview with WKDZ radio.

“He’ll get confirmed. It won’t be a landslide, but he’ll get confirmed,” the senator said.

Judge Kavanaugh was nominated a month ago to fill the seat of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whose retirement became effective at the end of July.

Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to have served a number of years in the White House when email was fully in use meaning there are millions of pages of documents amassed during his six years.

One million of those are from his time in the White House counsel’s office from 2001 to 2003, and perhaps 3 million more pages are in his files from 2003 to 2006, when he was staff secretary. That job involved being a doorkeeper for what reached the president so he shuffled countless documents across his desk.

The National Archives has said it would take until late October to release even a small portion of all of the documents.

Democrats say there should be no confirmation hearing, much less a vote, until all of the papers are produced.

“This is unprecedented and unfair to the American people,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat. “The American people deserve to know the true story of the man seeking a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said the Republicans’ fast pace suggests they are trying to hide his record from public scrutiny.

Republicans argue that there is more than enough to evaluate Judge Kavanaugh from the 12 years of rulings he amassed since he was confirmed to the circuit court in 2006.

Update hourly