Senate Dems Will End Boycott, Meet With Kavanaugh To Push Doc Requests

Raymond Kethledge at his Senate confirmation hearing in 2008

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) foreshadowed the escalating document fight over Kavanaugh's record in June, after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.

It appears it won't be sooner.

National Archives General Counsel Gary Stern pointed out that this request far exceeded past document requests for other Supreme Court Justice candidates. Stern said that the National Archives would complete its review of the first 300,000 pages by August 20, but the remaining 600,000 would not be completed until the end of October 2018.

Democrats say the documents they are requesting, including the staff secretary papers, are crucial to understanding all aspects Kavanaugh's background, particular his role in forming policy under Bush.

Senate Republicans have yet to schedule a confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh.

If Bush asserts a statutory right to privilege over any of these documents, those withheld records will be reviewed by the archives, and if they disagree, they will turn the record over to Congress, according to the committee. They said Grassley's initial request was sufficient and that senators would have hundreds of thousands of records to review on the nomination even without the staff secretary documents.

Grassley still plans on a September confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh, even with the letter from the National Archives, committee spokesman Taylor Foy said. The aide noted that a separate document review being conducted by a group of Bush lawyers had already given 125,000 documents relating to Kavanaugh's record to the committee on Thursday.

"As a result, I expect the committee will be able to undertake its thorough review process along the same timeline set in previous Supreme Court confirmations".

"Senate Democrats intend to demand that he call for and support the release of all of his files from his time in the Bush White House", the aide said. Kavanaugh said that Supreme Court decision was an example of judicial "backbone" and one of the "greatest moments in judicial history". He instead speculated that the Archives would be able to meet Grassley's request over a prolonged stretch, writing that "we can complete our review of the textual records and the subset of White House Counsel Office emails "from" Kavanaugh (approximately 49,000 emails) - totaling roughly 300,000 pages - by approximately August 20, 2018, and now expect to be able to complete the remaining 600,000 pages by the end of October 2018, all of which would then be followed by notification to the PRA representatives". Chris Coons of DE said at a hearing Wednesday that the Senate should receive even more documents than what Grassley had requested. The almost 1 million-page paper trail related to Kavanaugh's time at the White House greatly exceeds that of both Justice Elena Kagan (170,000) and Chief Justice John Roberts (70,000), according to the archives.

Grassley's July 27 letter sought records about Kavanaugh's work at the White House Counsel's Office, but not his time as staff secretary. "Here's the reality. The same people who are asking for the documents oppose Judge Kavanaugh".

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