Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee filed several Freedom of Information Requests for records involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his time at the White House, the latest move in a partisan battle over trying to obtain documents related to the judge as part of his Senate confirmation process.
“This extraordinary step is a last resort – unprecedented and unfortunate but necessary to fully and fairly review Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who’s on the committee, said in a statement. “I regret that Chairman (Chuck) Grassley has left us with no other choice. We need these documents to do our job.”
Democrats are seeking records from Kavanaugh’s time as an associate in the White House Counsel’s office and as White House staff secretary.
This comes after Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday she is “alarmed” by the National Archives’ decision to withhold documents related to the Supreme Court nominee, saying Democrats on the panel need the information.
The National Archives previously sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, denying the request for documents on Kavanaugh during the George W. Bush administration unless it is submitted by committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who is a Republican from Iowa.
“Chairman Grassley’s shameful, partisan decision to keep us from examining Brett Kavanaugh’s full record leaves us with no alternative but to make a Freedom of Information Act request for the release of the same types of materials that were released for past nominees,” Blumenthal said in his statement.
The Freedom of Information Act requests were sent by Democratic Sens. Blumenthal, Feinstein, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Chris Coons of Delaware, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.
Kavanaugh, who served as Bush’s staff secretary for three years, touched thousands of documents during his time.
Democrats have demanded all the documents from Kavanaugh’s time at the White House for review ahead of his confirmation, a request Republicans have said is a “fishing expedition” and a “delay tactic” for a nominee some Republicans say some Democrats have no intention of considering.