Senate Democrats on Tuesday requested all documents relating to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s work in the George W. Bush administration.
Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace the retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was a senior associate counsel in the Bush White House from 2001 to 2003, and assistant to the president and staff secretary from 2003 to 2006, during which time he heavily edited Bush’s speeches.
In a letter to the National Archives, Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Chris Coons, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris, asked for documents and emails pertaining to Kavanaugh’s White House positions as well as his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
“Transparency must not depend on who’s in power,” Senator Leahy wrote on Twitter. “We cannot have a lower standard for Trump nominees than what BOTH Republicans and Democrats demanded from nominees of both parties in the past. We must never rubberstamp a nominee to our nation’s highest court.”
Transparency must not depend on who’s in power. We cannot have a lower standard for Trump nominees than what BOTH Republicans and Democrats demanded from nominees of both parties in the past. We must never rubberstamp a nominee to our nation’s highest court. #ReleaseTheRecords
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) July 31, 2018
Leahy said the request “mirrors” a bipartisan request he sent for Justice Elena Kagan’s White House records back when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Durbin, meanwhile, said one reason for the documents request is Kavanaugh’s role in Bush’s use of signing statements to override laws, including one dealing with a torture ban.
An important reason why the Senate Judiciary Committee must see Kavanaugh’s Staff Secretary documents from the Bush White House before we hold a hearing on his nomination👇 https://t.co/SsUuxLpefs
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) July 30, 2018
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer expressed a similar concern.
“Judge Kavanaugh played a key role in clearing President Bush’s use of signing statements,” Schumer told the New York Times. “Understanding the nature of his involvement in those actions is absolutely critical to evaluating the type of justice he would be on the bench. The Senate and the American people deserve full access to the documents from his time as staff secretary.”