Durbin Statement On Meeting With Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court Nominee

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after meeting with President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

The Administration and Senate Republicans have refused to disclose any documents from the 35 months that Judge Kavanaugh spent as Staff Secretary in the White House, a time when many controversial issues of constitutional importance were debated and decided.  Judge Kavanaugh today acknowledged that he was involved in many of these issues, including same-sex marriage, abortion, executive power, detainees, torture, Supreme Court nominations, warrantless wiretapping, and more.  Time and again, he would not rule out that there are documents about his work on these issues.  The American people need to see these documents before the Senate considers his nomination.

Judge Kavanaugh also had the opportunity today to respond to a letter I sent him 11 years ago about his testimony to the Judiciary Committee in 2006.  Despite his sworn testimony that he was never involved in ‘questions about the rules governing detention of combatants,’ Judge Kavanaugh confirmed to me today that he was involved with internal Bush Administration discussions about litigation and policy regarding the detention of enemy combatants.  By any reasonable understanding, Judge Kavanaugh’s 2006 statement was misleading at best.  

I also asked him about developments this week that put us on threshold of a constitutional crisis.  Fundamental questions about the accountability of the President may soon come before the Supreme Court.  Judge Kavanaugh was an aggressive proponent of investigating President Bill Clinton, but changed his view after working for President George W. Bush.   He would not say today whether he believed a sitting president was subject to a subpoena or criminal indictment.  The American people need answers to these questions.

It would be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility of ‘advice and consent’ to consider Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination without first obtaining these documents and answers.   What is in these documents that Judge Kavanaugh does not want America to see?

Durbin has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for 19 years, during which he has considered the nominations of five current Supreme Court justices.  He is also the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration.