The Republican Party is trying to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed without allowing those confirming him to properly review the reams of documentation of Brett Kavanaugh’s career prior to becoming a judge. Kavanaugh worked in the Bush White House, and a Bush representative released 415,000 pages related to Kavanaugh’s judicial record, but the Trump White House is citing executive privilege in withholding 147,000 pages from review.
Republicans dumped 42,000 pages of Kavanaugh documents the day before his hearings began, in a clear attempt to say that they released information, despite the fact that it’s impossible to properly review that number of documents in time for Kavanaugh’s hearing. The Republicans have released just 4% of Kavanaugh’s White House record to the public. This is a farce and the GOP knows it, which is why they’re trying to get through this confirmation process as quickly as possible.
This is why it’s so important for the Democrats to fight fire with fire. There’s no point in adhering to arcane Senate rules if the GOP is going to trample all over them to begin with. This pushback began with a leak to the New York Times, which revealed that Kavanaugh does not view Roe v. Wade as settled law:
As a White House lawyer in the Bush administration, Judge Brett Kavanaugh challenged the accuracy of deeming the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be “settled law of the land,” according to a secret email obtained by The New York Times.
The email, written in March 2003, is one of thousands of documents that a lawyer for President George W. Bush turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Supreme Court nominee but deemed “committee confidential,” meaning it could not be made public or discussed by Democrats in questioning him in hearings this week. It was among several an unknown person provided to The New York Times late Wednesday.
Kavanaugh also lied under oath, as these leaked e-mails that Republicans have been withholding prove.
Kavanaugh has said TWICE, under oath, that he first learned about the warrantless surveillance program when the NYT reported it in 2005.
Here is an email about the program that he wrote in 2001 to John Yoo, the legal architect of the program https://t.co/wSrtHIO3ks— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 6, 2018
Another leaked e-mail shows that Kavanaugh may not believe that Hawaiians have the same rights as any other American.
Kavanaugh advocating, from his WH position, that laws providing benefits to native Hawaiians should be subject to strict scrutiny. He had made the same case for a private client three years before. https://t.co/TIXnHDL2Xi— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) September 6, 2018
Not to mention, Brett Kavanaugh played dumb while being grilled by Kamala Harris, and didn't deny that he had spoke to the law firm founded by Trump's personal lawyer about the Mueller investigation.
.@KamalaHarris: “Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at the law firm of President Trump's personal lawyer?”
Kavanaugh DOES NOT deny it. pic.twitter.com/3qyL8rw0pr— Stand Up America (@StandUpAmerica) September 6, 2018
The Republicans are claiming that thousands of documents are “committee confidential,” which means that the public cannot see them and only congressmen on the Judiciary Committees can view them. Democratic Senator Cory Booker is threatening to leak these documents.
Sen. Cory Booker says he will release confidential committee documents about Brett Kavanaugh: "I come from a long line…of understanding the consequences of civil disobedience…I understand that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the senate." pic.twitter.com/N2OERLRkk0— Axios (@axios) September 6, 2018
If he follows through on this threat, it is a true act of bravery since Senate rules dictate that a punishment commensurate with this offense is to be expelled from the Senate. Chuck Schumer, who has been aiding Trump's agenda to appoint as many unqualified judges as possible, even found his backbone and said that he would support Booker's extraordinary maneuver.
I stand w/ Judiciary Committee Democrats who are well within their rights to release these very important documents that a former Kavanaugh deputy designed as “committee confidential.”
The American ppl deserve to know the truth about Judge Kavanaugh's record. #WhatAreTheyHiding?— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 6, 2018
Republicans have long held an obvious contempt for the rule of law and the democratic process, and this is just another escalation in their attempt to enshrine their bankrupt vision of minority rule in America. For weeks, reasonable conservatives have been telling liberals that they’re being unnecessarily hyperbolic in assuming that Kavanaugh and his conservative cohorts will clearly try to overturn Roe v. Wade, and now thanks to a leak that almost surely came from a Democrat, we have unimpeachable evidence straight from the horse’s mouth that Kavanaugh sees that option as wholly legitimate.
Kavanaugh’s opposition to Roe v. Wade is just the tip of the spear of his judicial extremism. As Slate’s April Glaser highlighted, he essentially opposes the 4th Amendment’s application in the digital age.
In 2015, Kavanaugh wrote in support of the National Security Agency’s warrantless phone records collection program, which was challenged on Fourth Amendment grounds, Politico reported. “In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program,” Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declining to rehear a case challenging the legality of the mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. In other words, Kavanaugh thinks that government mass surveillance of American’s digital communications records doesn’t require a warrant and isn’t a violation of anyone’s privacy rights.
Brett Kavanaugh is considered an establishment Republican, and he is one of the least popular Supreme Court nominees ever (the other two contenders for least popular nominee were also Republicans). This is more proof that Donald Trump is the Republican Party and the Republican Party is Donald Trump. The only meaningful difference between the two is the tone that accompanies their autocratic desires. It’s imperative that we do as much as we can to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination as possible, otherwise, the conservatives on the Supreme Court will overrule the will of the majority of Americans for decades to come.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.