In what is expected to be an intense battle to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the departure of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary will begin confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Although Justice Kennedy announced he would step down from the the bench effective July 31, he will continue to serve the court as a senior associate justice.
Describing Kavanaugh as a “mainstream” judge with a history of judicial independence, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the judiciary panel overseeing confirmation hearings said:
“As I said after his nomination, Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most respected jurists in the country and one of the most qualified nominees ever to be considered by the Senate for a seat on our highest court.”
Grassley said he anticipates hearings to last no longer than four days and expects Kavanaugh to be seated by October.
The scheduling of hearings to determine Kavanaugh’s fitness for the highest court in the land has drawn criticism from Democrats, most of whom are accusing the GOP of attempting to rush the proceedings ahead of the 2018 mid-terms.
Leading the charge against Kavanaugh are Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (N.J.)
Although the trio of Democratic senators have demanded documents pertinent to Kavanaugh’s past service, two of the three, Schumer and Harris, have already expressed their strong opposition and their intent to vote against President Trump’s nominee.
Pushing for a delay, Democrats have insisted the National Archives turn over all documents related to Kavanaugh’s work in the Bush White House Counsel’s Office and relevant material to the nominee’s time as White House staff secretary. Archivist David Ferriero, however, has turned down all Democratic requests for Kavanaugh-related material, citing the Presidential Records Act which requires the Archives only to comply with requests from congressional committee chairs.
Democrats are also seeking material relevant to Kavanaugh’s service with former independent prosecutor Ken Starr, who investigated President Clinton on a raft of issues, notably perjury charges.
Grassley has requested material over Kavanaugh’s role in the counsel’s office, but has declined asking for papers related to Kavanaugh’s tenure as staff secretary, saying it is immaterial to the nomination.
Dismissing Democratic requests as a delay tacking, Grassley has responded by citing hundreds of thousands of pages of Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions, documents from his work during former White House administrations and a litany of responses to questions about his legal philosophy that have been reviewed by Grassley’s office.
[Washington Examiner] [CNN] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy The Daily Wire]