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August 2 2018

Democrats Delay Kavanaugh Confirmation with "Great Paper Chase"

by Erin Hawley

Today, standing in front of a floor-to-ceiling wall of boxes labeled “Kavanaugh Files,” key judiciary committee members explained that they are committed to an expeditious, transparent, and comprehensive confirmation process for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  

Chairman Grassley explained that the Judiciary Committee’s responsibility was to evaluate the nominee’s record in a fair and thorough process.  Committee members then described the most transparent and comprehensive confirmation procedure to date, producing the highest number of documents ever reviewed for a judicial nomination. 

Until Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, 170,000-180,000 pages of documents had been considered historic.  For his pending nomination, in contrast, Chairman Grassley has requested over 1,000,000 pages of documents, the equivalent of 167 boxes of documents containing approximately 6,000 pages each—covering his entire record as a lawyer and judge.  These documents are expected to exceed the total documents review for the last five Supreme Court nominees put together.  This is all in addition to the over 300 opinions that Judge Kavanaugh participated in as a D.C. Circuit judge, and his extensive judicial questionnaire.

The Democrats, in what the committee referred to as “the Great Paper Chase,” have requested every single document that crossed President Bush’s desk when Kavanaugh served as his staff secretary.  Senator Lee explained, however, that this request strikes at the very heart of the executive privilege and that the committee was required to respect separation of powers principles.  Indeed, because of similar concerns, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sessions did not even request sensitive documents that Justice Kagan worked on during her stint as Solicitor General.  Given the obvious executive privilege implications, the committee described the Democratic request as nothing more than a delay tactic.

Chairman Grassley also provided an update as to the schedule.  The first batch of documents will be produced this week—a batch roughly equivalent to the entire record reviewed for Judge Gorsuch.  Grassley continued to predict that confirmation hearings will be held sometime in September.

In short, the extensive record that will be made available for Judge Kavanaugh includes all of the following:

  • Over 300 cases in which he participated as a D.C. Circuit Judge over twelve years, totaling over 8,500 pages.
  • Judge Kavanaugh’s in-depth judiciary committee questionnaire, including law review articles, speeches, and speaking engagements, totaling an astounding 17,500 pages.
  • The equivalent of 167 boxes of documents (approximately 1,002,000 pages) covering his entire record as a lawyer and judge and totaling more pages than the last five nominees put together.
Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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