With potential votes on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee getting closer by the day, Democrats trying to slow down District Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmatioin have now gotten double “no’s” from the National Archives.
According to a report in The Hill on Monday, David S. Ferriero, the head of the National Archives, is standing by an agency policy that it would only respond to requests from congressional committee chairmen.
Since both houses of Congress are controlled by Republicans, that means that Democrats aren’t in a position to make requests directly of the National Archives in their pursuit of paperwork that could cast a shadow on Kavanaugh’s case to be a Supreme Court justice.
Ferriero has now turned down both California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Ferriero, who has been head of the National Archives since 2010, was appointed to the position by then-President Barack Obama in 2009.
In a letter to Feinstein, Ferriero wrote that he had consulted with the National Archives general counsel as well as the Department of Justice, which reaffirmed the National Archives’ “longstanding and consistent practice of only responding to committee chairs,” The Hill reported.
“Accordingly, I am not in a position to change our understanding of the law or our practice in this particular instance,” Ferriero wrote.
Democrats are trying to get access to Kavanaugh’s papers from his time serving as staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House from 2003 to 2006, “arguing it would shed light on his legal thinking on controversial issues like torture or surveillance,” according to The Hill article on Schumer’s attempt.
According to The Hill, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has requested the documents from the National Archives from Kavanaugh’s time as White House counsel, from 2001 to 2003, but not as staff secretary because Republicans say they’re irrelevant. Papers from Kavanaugh’s White House counsel days aren’t expected to be ready before the Senate takes up Kavanaugh’s nomination.
However, Republicans counter that a legal team for former President George W. Bus is reviewing the same documents and will have them ready for review faster. That means, according to the GOP, there’s no reason to delay acting on President Donald Trump’s second nomination to the high court.
Grassley has announced the Judiciary Committee will open its hearings on Kavanaugh on Tuesday, Sept. 4. That is expected to last three or four days, according to The Hill.
A vote in the full Senate would follow. Assuming Republicans hold together – and possibly pick up one or two Democrat votes – Kavanaugh would be seated in time to take part in the court’s session that starts Oct. 1.
Democrats aren’t just appealing to the National Archives, however.
Last week, they filed “unprecedented” freedom of information act requests with the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security as well as with the National Archives in an attempt to get documents they hope will be able to stall and possibly sink Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
“We need these documents to do our job,” Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal said, according to a report in The Hill from Aug. 8.
“There is too much at stake to accept anything less than a complete picture of Judge Kavanaugh’s background.”
Republicans, who know very well how much is at stake, appear determined to get Kavanaugh onto the court before Oct. 1.
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