August 22, 2018

SCOTUS | Kavanaugh Hearing on Track for Sept 4

PreparedFloor Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman,Senate Judiciary Committee
SCOTUS| Kavanaugh Hearing on Track for Sept 4
August22, 2018
Over thepast day, several of my colleagues issued statements calling for JudgeKavanaugh’s confirmation hearing to be delayed. They claim it’s becausePresident Trump’s former lawyer recently pleaded guilty to criminal violationsof campaign finance law, allegedly at President Trump’s direction.
I’m notgoing to delay Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. There’s no precedent fordelaying a hearing in these circumstances. In fact, there’s clear precedentpointing the other way. In 1994, President Clinton nominated Justice Breyer tothe Supreme Court. President Clinton was, at the time, under investigation byIndependent Counsel Robert Fiske in connection with the Whitewater land deal. Indeed,President Clinton’s own records were under a grand jury subpoena. Yet theSenate confirmed Justice Breyer by a vote of 87-9 during all this.
In fact,President Clinton was under investigation for much of his presidency and wasimpeached for committing perjury. But the Senate didn’t stop confirming hislifetime appointments to the bench. President Trump is not even close to beingin the same legal situation as President Clinton. My colleagues’ pleas to delaythe hearing ring false. I’ll tell you why.
Liberaloutside groups and Senate Democratic leaders decided to oppose the President’sSupreme Court nominee by any means necessary. Some even announced theiropposition before Judge Kavanaugh was nominated. The Minority Leader said he’dfight Judge Kavanaugh with everything he’s got.
Members ofthe Judiciary Committee announced their opposition before giving him anyconsideration whatsoever. One member said voting for Judge Kavanaugh is“complicit in evil.” Another member said Judge Kavanaugh threatens “destructionof the Constitution of the United States.”
The goal hasalways been the same: delay the confirmation process as much as possible andhope Democrats take over the Senate in the midterm elections. The RankingMember’s hometown newspaper reported on this strategy recently, calling it anattempt to stall. The strategies might change, but the goal to obstruct theconfirmation process remains unchanged.
First, Democraticleaders tried to apply the Biden Rule—which bars confirmations in presidentialelection years and which many Democrats previously said doesn’t even exist—tomidterm election years. When this failed—because it was flatly false—theychanged strategies.
They triedpushing for an unprecedented disclosure of Judge Kavanaugh’s Executive Branchdocuments, even though we’ve already received more pages of such documents thanany previous Supreme Court nominee. And this is on top of his twelve-year judicialtrack record and other more relevant publicly available materials.
Now, they’retrying to latch onto the legal troubles of President Trump’s former associates.
But, as Ijust explained, there’s no precedent or logical reason for the Senate todecline to proceed on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination in these circumstances. It’sjust another attempt to block Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation by any meansnecessary.
On a relatednote, we are working to make as many of the documents we receive publiclyavailable as soon as possible. It’s common practice to receive documents as “committeeconfidential” until we can assure ourselves that we won’t disclose sensitive,confidential information to the public.
ChairmanLeahy did this during Justice Kagan’s confirmation process, and I’m doing thesame thing. This gives Judiciary Committee members a jump start on reviewingdocuments. The goal is to make as many publicly available as possible. I havepromised to work with President Bush and President Trump to waive “committeeconfidentiality” for specific documents that my colleagues would like to use atthe confirmation hearing. This is also consistent with how the Judiciary Committeehas handled this issue in the past.
And, ofcourse, all my Senate colleagues are welcome to review “committee confidential”documents at their convenience. Simply get in touch with my staff. They willmake sure you have full access to the range of “committee confidential”documents.
One of mycolleagues tweeted:
Chairman Grassley unilaterally deemedKavanaugh records “committee confidential”. Penalty for release could include “expulsion”from the Senate, which hasn’t happened since the Civil War, for disloyalty tothe Union. GOP is going that far to keep them secret.
This isabsurd. He’s acting like the Senate has never received “committee confidential”documents before. It’s common practice. And it’s happened in previous SupremeCourt nominations, under Democratic chairmen.
It’sregrettable that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle havepoliticized this process so much, and have such short memories. I yield thefloor.