National Archives Can’t Get Full Kavanaugh Records Until October – Should the Confirmation Vote be Delayed?
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by Causes | 8.3.18
What’s the story?
- The National Archives informed the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Thursday that the agency would not be able to complete the lawmaker’s request for documents regarding Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh until the end of October.
- While some have said this throws a wrench into the GOP’s plan to quickly hold a vote on President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, Republicans have also indicated that they’d press ahead with plans to hold confirmation hearings in September.
- Meanwhile, the National Archives denied a request from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for documents related to Kavanaugh's work in the George W. Bush administration, saying it will only respond to a to a demand for documents under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) if they come from a committee chairman—which is unlikely, as they are all Republicans.
- National Archives general counsel Gary Stern sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), saying the senator’s request for documents far exceeded past document request for SCOTUS candidates.
"The total volume of your request could be more than 900,000 pages," Stern wrote. "By way of contrast, the total volume of records that NARA reviewed for the nomination of Justice Roberts was approximately 70,000 pages, and the volume for Justice Kagan's nomination was 170,000 pages."
- Stern indicated the National Archives would take up the task in batches, and expects to complete the full review “by the end of October 2018.”
- Senate Judiciary spokesperson Taylor Foy said that Grassley has no plans to delay a confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh as a result of the delay.
The “review process” for Kavanaugh will continue “along the same timeline set in previous Supreme Court confirmations,” Foy said.
Dems request rebuffed
- In responding to Schumer’s request, Archivist David Ferriero, who was appointed by President Obama, wrote the National Archives and Records “remains unable to respond to PRA special access requests from ranking minority members.”
- Ferriero wrote that after consultations between the National Archives general counsel and the Justice Department, they determined that a documents request “must be from the chair (or the committee itself), unless specifically delegated by the committee to the ranking minority member.”
- Democrats have argued documents and emails detailing Kavanaugh’s time with the George W. Bush administration would shed light on his stance about issues like surveillance and torture.
- But Grassley and his fellow republicans have refused to include the three-year period in their own requests to the National Archives.
"I requested abt 1 million pages from Judge Kavanaugh’s time as govt lawyer for fair+thorough SCOTUS vetting That’s more than the last 5 SCOTUS nominees COMBINED Democrats who already oppose say its not enough. How much do you need to know to vote no?" Grassley wrote on Instagram.
What do you think?
Should Republicans delay Kavanaugh's confirmation vote until all the documents are in? Are you interested in seeing details about Kavanaugh’s time with the George W. Bush administration? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
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