Brett Kavanaugh wrote that government programs targeting Native Hawaiians “as a group” is “of questionable validity under the Constitution” and would be “subject to strict scrutiny” in an email sent during his time in the Bush White House.
Kavanaugh was responding to upcoming testimony from a Treasury Department official regarding investment in “Indian Country.”
“I think the testimony needs to make clear that any program targeting Native Hawaiians as a group is subject to strict scrutiny and of questionable validity under the Constitution,” Kavanaugh wrote in 2002.
Why this matters: The email, marked committee confidential, was released Thursday morning by the office of Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, in a protest that may have flouted Senate rules.
Kavanaugh has publicly questioned the indigenous status of Native Hawaiians in the past, including in an op-ed and an amicus brief, and he was pressed on the issue by Hirono in Wednesday’s hearing.