Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has dismissed the idea of reviewing certain records pertaining to Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whom President Donald Trump tapped in July to fill retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the high court.
Collins has been outspokenly suspicious of any Supreme Court nominee who has “demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” however on Tuesday the independent-leaning Senator sided with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) decision to reject requests by Democrats to release Kavanaugh’s records from his time in President George W. Bush’s administration.
Grassley said Democrats were on a “fishing expedition” in their pursuit of all documents relating to Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House.
Over the weekend, Grassley agreed to only release National Archive records of Kavanaugh’s time serving in the White House Counsel’s Office under Bush.
Collins said Grassley’s denial was “eminently reasonable.”
“I met with Senator Grassley yesterday about the document request and, as he described it to me, it seems eminently reasonable,” Collins said, adding that documents that Kavanaugh “did not play a role in creating” didn’t need to be made public. Some of the documents requested by Democrats contained Kavanaugh’s name but were not authored by him.
On Tuesday, Collins told the Huffington Post she doesn’t “see a need for those,” and that “the document request that Senator Grassley has made is very comprehensive.”
Collins, along with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), are the only openly pro-choice Republicans in the United States Senate. Their votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation could determine whether or not he is appointed to the bench due to the 51-49 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
While Collins’ acquiescing to Grassley’s dismissal of Democratic requests isn’t unusual, it comes just hours after a video surfaced of Kavanaugh praising the dissenting opinion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which solidified abortion access as a constitutional right.
Newly resurfaced video shows SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh praising the dissenting opinion in Roe v. Wade pic.twitter.com/Ezoacdf8rc
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 30, 2018
Kavanaugh decried the “judicial creation of unenumerated rights that were not rooted in the nation’s history and tradition.” This should not only be seen as a red flag for abortion rights, but for voting rights, civil rights, and same-sex marriage rights should legal proceedings on any of these issues find their way to the Supreme Court.
“You have to wonder: what are the Republicans hiding about Judge Kavanaugh’s record?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “The attempt here is sunlight, not delay,” Schumer added.
Schumer has asked the archivist of the U.S., David Ferriero, to personally release thousands of documents from Kavanaugh’s tenure as Bush’s staff secretary. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Ferriero is expected to make his decision by this coming Friday.
Similar requests were made by Republicans during the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, who was appointed by President Barack Obama. Unlike Kagan, Kavanaugh has an extensive judicial record from which his positions on certain issues can be gleaned.
Republicans have cited Kavanaugh’s more than “300 legal opinions during his 12 years as an appellate judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit” as sufficient, HuffPost wrote.
Murkowski told reporters on Tuesday: “For anybody to suggest that Senator Grassley is not making an extraordinary amount of information available about this judge, I don’t think that they’re looking at the facts.” Murkowski also said she was “impressed” by the number of documents produced on Kavanaugh thus far.
“I know that Democrats basically said, anything he has ever touched … needs to be produced. I think there comes a point where the request is no longer reasonable,” Murkowski said.
Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh presents a real danger to the future of women’s autonomy and civil rights. The Senate would be wise to ensure no stone is left unturned.