WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. Senate said on Thursday they were willing to sue the National Archives if they fail to comply with their request for information on Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh.
The threat escalated Democrats’ feud with Republicans over documents on the conservative federal judge nominated by President Donald Trump. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that he plans to meet with Kavanaugh next week.
Democrats search for documents from Kavanaugh’s service while working in the White House under former Republican President George W. Bush. Last week, several Democratic senators filed requests under the United States Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to try to force the government to release the records.
“Today we announce that we are ready to sue the National Archives for Judge Kavanaugh’s complete records if necessary, if the FOIA request is not accepted,” Schumer told reporters on Capitol Hill. “The American people deserve a careful and methodical examination of a candidate for the Supreme Court, who will have immense influence in their lives.”
Democrats have accused Republicans of producing the documents necessary to properly vet Kavanaugh, but Republicans say the Democratic demands are designed to delay a Senate vote.
Democrats want to know about any involvement Kavanaugh has had on controversial issues before the Bush White House, such as the policy toward torture, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the detention center and other issues.
Some documents from Kavanaugh’s long career have been released, but Democrats complain that a former Kavanaugh MP has been allowed to selectively publish the documents.
“I will meet with him (Kavanaugh) next week and ask him all about these documents and what he plans to do about them.” He should have said by now that he wants them released … “said Schumer, who has vowed to fight Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Trump nominated Kavanaugh, 53, on July 9 to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Before he can take the nine-member court for life, the Republican-controlled Senate must vote to confirm him.
Confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin Sept. 4, and Republicans expect Kavanaugh to be confirmed by the time the court begins his next term on Oct. 1.
Kavanaugh has accumulated a solidly conservative court record as an appellate court judge for 12 years. His confirmation will require a simple majority in the 100-seat Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 advantage over Democrats and independents.
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