Booker Orders Release of Kavanaugh-Related Email in 'Act of Disobedience'

Jo Lloyd
September 6, 2018

The second day of questioning in Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing began with another bitter controversy over the GOP's handling of the process and the behavior of Democrats seeking to slow his confirmation.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the third day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 6, 2018.

The tone is different from Kavanaugh's remarks stressing how hard it is to overturn precedent like Roe during confirmation hearings, which opened for a third day Thursday with angry complaints and finger-pointing among senators over the unusual vetting process for the judge.

Most Senate Democrats already declared their opposition to Kavanaugh prior to the hearings, and the confirmation vote is expected to be strictly partisan.

Two of the Democratic senators who have been most forceful in the Kavanaugh hearing, Booker and Kamala Harris, are considered potential 2020 presidential candidates.

Booker said that he was "knowingly violating the rules" of the Senate and releasing documents that were only made available to senators this week, just before the hearings started. Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, did so at the risk of expulsion from the Senate.

Asked Wednesday by Feinstein whether a sitting president can be forced to respond to a subpoena, he demurred: "I can't give you an answer on that hypothetical question".

"As I've been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham", Booker said.

Chairman Grassley has released all requested documents.

The fight focused on information turned over from the George W Bush Library about Kavanaugh's service in the Bush White House. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that he could be expelled from the Senate if he released documents marked "confidential" to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

'Because I think the public should understand that at a moment that somebody is up for a lifetime appointment, that this issue does the public have a right to know, ' he said. "Bring it", he replied to Cornyn.

Vermont's senior senator accused the judge of being aware of emails stolen from Leahy and other Democrats from 2001 to 2003 and having knowledge of the warrantless surveillance of United States citizens that went into effect in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

Some of the documents were leaked to the New York Times on Wednesday evening, including one 2003 email in which Kavanaugh questioned whether Roe v. Wade was settled law of the land.

Not all Democrats have said they will oppose Mr Kavanaugh, and several may even support his nomination.

Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only two Republicans even remotely open to voting against Kavanaugh, though neither has said she would do so.

On abortion, Kavanaugh said the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has been affirmed "many times". Women's health advocates have said that Kavanaugh would overturn the ruling and criminalize abortions. "I've never given anyone any hints, forecasts, previews, winks, nothing about my view as a judge or how I would rule as a judge or anything related to that", he said. Republicans hold a slim Senate majority and can confirm Kavanaugh if they stay united. In the years since, conservative legal activists have vowed to appoint judges whose votes on the matter could firmly be predicted, a mission that fell in part to Judge Kavanaugh when he was an associate counsel to President George W. Bush. Making a scene at a high-profile confirmation hearing can only boost his profile and improve his chances of one day winning the Democratic nomination.

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