07.27.18

Leahy Comment On The Senate Judiciary Committee's Incomplete Records Request For Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee failed the American people.  In a stark departure from bipartisan precedent, Senate Republicans are seeking to prevent the Senate from fulfilling its obligation to review the full record of a nominee for a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.  We must ask:  What do Senate Republicans so badly want to hide?

After Senate Republicans travelled to the White House to discuss what documents they should request, they decided the American people do not need to see anything from Judge Kavanaugh’s three contentious years as Staff Secretary to President George W. Bush — a time the nominee himself described as “among the most instructive” for him as a judge, when he provided advice “on any issue that may cross the [the president’s] desk.”  Even for the records that Senate Republicans are seeking, they did not request that the administration tell us what specific documents they are withholding and the basis for doing so.  This tainted process and half-production are all the more troubling because the last time Judge Kavanaugh testified before the Senate, he appeared to provide a misleading account of his work on torture and detainee policies in the White House.  Now we may never learn the full truth, and Republicans are apparently just fine with that.

How far the Senate has fallen.  Each senator has an independent, constitutional obligation to provide advice and informed consent to a president’s nominees.  When I served as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee for the nomination of Justice Elena Kagan, I didn’t travel to the Obama White House seeking permission to request certain documents.  I requested all of them.  And I was joined in that request by the top Republican on the Committee at the time, then-Senator Jeff Sessions. 

Senate Republicans are hiding relevant documents from the American people and putting party over country.  The American people — whose lives will be shaped for a generation by Judge Kavanaugh if he is confirmed — deserve better.  They deserve the truth.  

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