Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today delivered opening remarks on the importance of the committee reviewing all documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s work in the White House, as a Republican political operative and as a judge.
Video is available here.
“I would like to briefly address the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and efforts to obtain documents from his time at the White House and working as a political operative.
Whenever we’ve had a Supreme Court nominee before us, both Democrats and Republicans have insisted on seeing the nominees’ full record. And this has never been a partisan issue.
And I think that’s because both sides understand that to our Constitutional duty is ‘advice and consent.’ Senators need to be informed about the judgment and record of the nominee being considered for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.
Importantly, access to information about Judge Kavanaugh’s record is not only critical to the Senate, it’s critical to the American public. Our constituents deserve to know who this nominee is, what he will bring to the court, and how his legal views will impact their daily lives.
Because it’s the Supreme Court, after all, that has reaffirmed more than three dozen times a woman’s right to control her body and make her own fundamental health care decisions.
And it’s the Supreme Court that upheld the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that millions of Americans would no longer face discrimination in health care due to preexisting conditions like asthma, cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
And it’s the Supreme Court that will continue to decide whether the government can protect the health and safety of American workers and ensure we breathe unpolluted air and drink clean water.
In light of this week’s disturbing events, it’s also the Supreme Court that serves as the final check on executive power and presidential authority. It is, ultimately, the Supreme Court that will have the last word on whether a sitting president is above the law.
We — the Senate—and the American public must know where Judge Kavanaugh stands on these and other important issues before confirming him to a life time appointment.
And this starts with having access to Judge Kavanaugh’s documents from his time in the White House and as a political operative.
Unfortunately, at least one member on the other side of the aisle has stated that Democrats are trying to “draw this out” and are making “unreasonable” demands to delay a hearing.
Let me be clear, this is not the case. Democrats are following past practices and have provided a draft document request that is almost identical to what was requested during the Kagan nomination.
I’d like to enter into the record the document requests sent to the Clinton Presidential Library and the National Archives for the Kagan nomination. These letters were sent by the Obama White House and Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Sessions urging expedited production of all of Justice Kagan’s records from her tenure in the Clinton White House, including emails and hand written notes.
While Republicans were in the minority, and the nominee was a Democrat, Chairman Leahy and White House Counsel Bauer did not fight these requests. In fact, they joined them, and they stated that they be expedited.
The document requests were broad and appropriate given the importance of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. They covered all records from Justice Kagan’s time in the White House.
In addition, President Clinton did not make any assertion of executive privilege. Our requests follow this model to the letter. As I noted, we provided draft letters on Monday and I am hopeful we can send requests for Judge Kavanaugh very soon. The sooner the requests go out, the sooner we can get the documents and start our review.
Given the concern across the aisle about timing, I also hope the White House will join these requests and urge that they be honored in an expedited manner.
The Senate and the American public were given the opportunity to review Justice Kagan’s full record. The Senate and the American public must be given the same opportunity to review the entirety of Judge Kavanaugh’s record.”