Klukowski: Democrats’ Demand for 1 Million Documents on Kavanaugh Is Obstruction

The Associated Press
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Democrats are demanding to review over 1 million pages of material on Judge Brett Kavanaugh before voting on his Supreme Court nomination.

But this is merely an obstructionist tactic to push his confirmation into 2019 to harm Republicans in the midterms, and hoping to retake Senate control so they can keep the Supreme Court seat open until 2021, after the next presidential election.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said there are “at least 1 million pages of documents” related to Kavanaugh, and that her committee needs access to every single one of them “to properly vet Judge Kavanaugh.”

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said the same, supporting Feinstein’s call for all those documents to examine President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Almost none of those documents reflect on Kavanaugh’s views or philosophy, however. Many would be from his time as White House staff secretary, where he acted the “traffic cop” for every piece of paper going into or out of the Oval Office for several years. Others deal with his time working as Ken Starr’s deputy during the independent counsel investigation of Bill Clinton. None of those provide insight into his views on legal interpretation.

It is also important to realize that all that was on the table when Kavanaugh was being vetted for the D.C. Circuit, the appeals court where he currently serves. Democrats held up his confirmation for three full years, from 2003 until 2006. They had all the time in the world to examine all of those documents that are appropriate for disclosure, and the documents that had to be kept confidential at that time must still be kept confidential.

The only thing that has changed about Judge Kavanaugh’s record since 2006 are the records that he generated as a judge—that is, his judicial opinions. In fact, Kavanaugh has authored 300 court opinions over the 12 years that he has served on the D.C. Circuit.

Nothing could be a better window into someone’s judicial philosophy of how they interpret the Constitution and federal law than their judicial opinions. And Kavanaugh’s opinions are often lengthy, scholarly opinions that delve deep into philosophical matters. They provide an enormous record by themselves to demonstrate that Kavanaugh is a brilliant, mainstream conservative judge, easily and fully well-qualified for the Supreme Court.

There is little if anything that those 1 million pages can reveal about Kavanaugh that are not abundantly clear from his judicial record, and any exploration of his character, education, integrity, or experience has already been exhaustively dealt with a decade ago. He is still a graduate of Yale Law School, still a law clerk for Anthony Kennedy, still has a clear financial record and no legal entanglements. There is nothing new there.

But Senate Democrats already know that. What that is really about is obstruction.

It is laughable to suggest that the same senators who are willing to vote on a 2,000-page bill spending over $1 trillion only 24 hours after the bill is released need to take months. Not only does this conveniently stretch this fight past the midterm elections and give Democrats an opportunity – however unlikely – to retake the Senate and vote Kavanaugh down on party lines, but it would also deprive President Trump and the GOP of an enormous political victory shortly before voters go the polls, and save ten red-state Democrats from the politically dangerous dilemma of voting against a Trump Supreme Court nominee who is popular with their home-state constituents on the eve of their own reelection.

For that matter, many of the Democrats calling for these 1 million documents have already said they are going to vote against Kavanaugh. Having made that decision, they will not even glance at the documents, no matter how many there are.

Hopefully Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sees this political ploy for the stunt that it is. As chairman of the committee, he gets to decide what record the committee must review before voting on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

If Kavanaugh receives a vote in time to begin the Supreme Court’s next annual term of Oct. 1, he will likely win confirmation with bipartisan support, as several of those vulnerable red-state Democrats may have no choice but to support him. It will be a “promise made, promise kept” moment that will energize Republicans across the board, helping the party maintain control of both chambers of Congress.

With Democrats pushing an agenda that is nakedly political, it should be noted that in confirming Kavanaugh, good constitutional policy would also be good politics for the GOP: It will give a boost to the Republican challengers of other red-state senators, giving the GOP a chance to pick up several additional seats.

With several additional pickups, Republicans could go from having only a nominal majority in the Senate to a true working majority, and begin passing major legislation to enact President Trump’s agenda that the American people voted for in 2016.

The Democrats’ argument here is pure obstruction, and Republicans must not allow it to get in the way of a well-qualified conservative being confirmed to the nation’s highest court.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.



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