Durbin: Judge Kavanaugh Should Be Held To The Same Standard Of Transparency As Prior Supreme Court Nominees

WASHINGTON— In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, discussed the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and how Republicans have embarked on an unprecedented effort to hide critical documents from Kavanaugh’s tenure as a top White House aide to President George W. Bush. As of right now, just two percent of Kavanaugh’s records from his time in the Bush White House have been made public, including none from his time as Staff Secretary, a time that Kavanaugh himself called “formative” for his work as a judge. Prior to her confirmation hearing, more than 99 percent of Justice Elena Kagan’s documents from her time in the Clinton White House were made public.

“Republicans said we are going to have a new rule when it comes to Republicans nominees from the Trump Administration in the case of Brett Kavanaugh. And that new rule said that we will not ask for documentation from the 35 months when he served in the Bush White House as the closest advisor to the President of the United States,” Durbin said. “There were a myriad of issues that were considered by the President in that period of time, and Brett Kavanaugh, then assistant-to-the President, was involved in these decisions. We won’t know what he said or did because Republicans have refused to ask for the documentary evidence of his time there.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor are available here.

Durbin also highlighted that Republicans are not relying on the National Archives to produce all relevant documents from the nominee’s White House tenure, as the Archives did for Justice Kagan. Instead, Republicans have asked a Republican lawyer, who is Kavanaugh’s former deputy, to oversee the document production process. This lawyer, William Burck, who also represents Steve Bannon and White House Counsel Don McGahn, is hand-picking which documents to release to the Judiciary Committee and American people before Kavanaugh’s scheduled confirmation hearing in September. Durbin criticized this partisan document production process as unprecedented and lacking the needed transparency to consider a lifetime appoint to the highest court in the land.