I must say I enjoy watching Senate Democrats throwing a fit over their inability to get millions of pages of Brett Kavanaugh-related documents in time for his confirmation hearing. Apparently, the Dems can’t find anything in the many hundreds of judicial opinions Judge Kavanaugh has written or signed that will come close to sinking his nomination. Thus, they have pinned their hopes on finding a “gotcha” in some paper Kavanaugh wrote when he worked in the Bush administration.
I very much doubt such a sentence exists. By many accounts, Kavanaugh is the kind of person who planned to be a judge from the moment he entered law school. Or maybe high school. I’m pretty sure he was very careful about he wrote while working in the White House. His most controversial statements are probably those he wrote as a judge, where his job requires him to decide highly controversial issues.
In any event, Republicans aren’t going to (1) insist on the production of the millions of papers Kavanaugh handled as White House staff secretary or (2) hold up his confirmation while the Archives struggles to produce all of the papers he wrote when he worked in White House counsel’s office. The leadership’s response to Democratic whining is just what the Democrats’ response would be if the shoe were on the other foot: Pound sand.
Instead of pounding sand, Democrats are going to sue. In this case, it probably amounts to the same thing.
Last week, Judiciary Committee Democrats filed FOIA requests with the National Archives, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Central Intelligence Agency, giving the agencies until September 6 to comply with the massive document requests. Knowing that the agencies won’t — can’t — comply, the Dems are prepared to sue.
Sen. Chuck Schumer said today:
We’re announcing that we stand ready to sue the National Archives for Judge Kavanaugh’s full records if necessary.
Unfortunately for Schumer and his fellow Democrats, there is no way their lawsuit could be resolved before the Kavanaugh hearings begin on September 4. Moreover, even if it were resolved in the Democrats’ favor, there would no way all of the documents could be produced, much less combed for a “gotcha,” in time.
What the Democrats really need is a court order requiring the Senate to postpone the Kavanaugh hearing. I’m pretty sure we haven’t yet reached the point where a judge would issue such an order — or at least the point where such an order would stick.
But let the Democrats knock themselves out suing. In the very unlikely event the case reaches the Supreme Court, Justice Kavanaugh can recuse himself.
UPDATE: The Democrats are also fishing for evidence that Kavanaugh leaked grand jury information during the Starr independent counsel investigation. An outfit called American Oversight has filed a request in federal court to unseal the special master’s report concerning allegations of such improper disclosure.
There is no reason to believe Kavanaugh leaked anything when he worked for Ken Starr. This is almost certainly another dry hole for the desperate Democrats.