Law & the Courts

Republicans Thwart Democratic Request for Kavanaugh Documents, Schedule Confirmation Vote

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 5, 2018. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have scheduled a vote next week to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, shutting down Democrats’ request to subpoena more documents and witnesses, which would have delayed the vote.

Democrats tried to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last week by asking Chairman Chuck Grassley to delay them until more documents are released relating to the nominee’s stint as staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House. The minority party is concerned about Kavanaugh’s views on a number of issues that could come before the High Court, including the limits of presidential power and abortion rights.

The committee will hold a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation a week from today, and the full Senate plans to follow with a final vote by the end of the month, just before the Supreme Court begins its 2018 term October 1.

“There’s a march to judgment that isn’t necessary and a lack of information on which to make a determination,” said the committee’s ranking Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein. “What in Judge Kavanaugh’s records are Republicans hiding?”

With a razor-thin Senate majority, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes, and GOP senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have left the party guessing as to how they will vote. Both senators are in favor of abortion rights, and although Kavanaugh, a faithful Catholic, has repeatedly affirmed that the landmark abortion-rights case Roe vs. Wade is “settled law,”  he has refrained from giving his opinion on whether it was correctly decided.

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