The Senate cannot have a legitimate Supreme Court confirmation hearing until all Kavanaugh records are made available

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced today that the Committee will be holding a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh beginning on September 4.

This announcement was made despite the fact that Judge Kavanaugh’s full record has not been released and without regard for the National Archives’ notice that it will need until at least October to produce the limited documents that Senator Grassley agreed to release.

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), issued the following statement:

“Americans rely on the Supreme Court to safeguard not only our civil rights, but the integrity of our justice system. This attempt to ram through Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination without access to his full record is simply appalling.

“The Constitution requires the Senate to advise and consent on any nomination to the Supreme Court. The duty to advise requires meaningful review of a nominee’s prior service, as the Senate has consistently recognized in prior nominations.

“The meaningful review required by the Constitution cannot take place without the Senate having access to documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s recent time in key political posts, including his experience as Staff Secretary to President George W. Bush, which he himself deemed ‘most useful to [him] as a judge.’

“The stakes are simply too high for this process to proceed as a rubber stamp. The partisan rush to push this nominee through without adequate process is particularly irresponsible and inexplicable in light of the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation, which casts a toxic cloud over the entire administration.

“The next Supreme Court justice may need to rule on the President’s novel claims of constitutional law, including recent assertions by the President’s lawyer suggesting that he need not comply with a subpoena from the Special Counsel, and the Senate should not allow the President to decide who will be the judge of his own case.

“For the sake of transparency, the independence of the Court, and the generations to come whose lives will be shaped by this nominee, the Senate must press pause. We must slow down and protect the institution that protects all of us. LDF will continue our thorough review of Judge Kavanaugh’s record in public service, and we urge all responsible Senators—Republican and Democrat—to demand the same.”

Ashley Allison, executive vice president, campaigns & programs of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement:

“One of the most important roles of the Senate is to consider nominees to the Supreme Court, and this responsibility is even more important right now. The process for considering Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination needs to be independent, guided by transparency, honesty, and rigor, given all that is at stake for our rights and freedoms.

“The Senate cannot have a legitimate Supreme Court confirmation hearing until the records from all of Kavanaugh’s time as a political operative in the White House are publicly available.

“It’s hypocritical enough that Chairman Grassley has not even requested Kavanaugh’s records from his time as White House Staff Secretary for President George W. Bush. But it is even worse that he won’t wait for the non-partisan National Archives to produce the limited scope he asked for. The Archives has said its review of Kavanaugh’s records from his time in the White House Counsel’s office will take until the end of October.

“Scheduling a hearing in early September shows that Senate Republicans simply want to ram through Kavanaugh’s nomination before senators and the public have all the information they need to thoroughly examine the nominee and cast a vote that will impact generations. This sham hearing demeans the Senate and undermines the Constitution.”

The Equal Justice Society is a member of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (civilrights.org), a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals.