Sen. Grassley Defends Proceeding With Kavanaugh Hearing Amid Democratic Protests
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Tuesday had the responsibility of overseeing the confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh in Congress this morning.
The hearing began with loud, angry protests from both the gallery and a few Democrat senators, and in response to those protests, Grassley spoke on the merits of the out-of-order objections being made.
“I can answer all the questions that have been raised, but I think if I answer those questions it’s going to fit into the effort of the minority to continue to obstruct and I don’t think that that’s fair to our judge,” said Grassley. “It’s not fair to our constitutional process, but let me respond to those now and then maybe we can proceed.”
As he opened another protester began shouting in the back of the room and had to be removed from the hearing, a timed and planned periodic interruption of the process that was to continue throughout the morning.
Grassley continued, responding to the question of documents deemed confidential by executive privilege.
“My colleagues on the other side are accusing the administration of using executive privilege to hide documents from the committee. I want to say why they’re wrong,” said Grassley. “Judge Kavanaugh was a senior lawyer in the White House. He advised the president on judicial nominations, provided legal advice on separation of powers issues and handled litigation matters. As the court has put it, quote, unless the president can give his advisers some assurance of confidentiality a president cannot be expected to get the full and frank commissions of facts and opinions on what’s the effective discharge of his duties depends. End of quote.”
“The issues Judge Kavanaugh worked on are exactly the sort of issues that require, according to the Supreme Court, some assurance of confidentiality,” he added. He also said that Senators and everyday Americans would expect the same confidentiality, and pointed out that Justice Elana Kagan’s records from her time working with Joe Biden were similarly excluded during her hearing, over the matter of attorney-client privilege. And not just hers.
“We didn’t ask for Justice Ginsburg’s documents for her time with the ACLU, he added. ‘We didn’t ask for judge Sotomayor’s confidential documents from her time in private practice.”
Democrats repeatedly brought up the production of documents, on which point Sen. Grassley went over the number of documents that were provided.
“And then I will speak to the fact about 42,000 pages. Last night, we received additional documents for the committee’s review. These were documents we requested before the hearing and we received them before the hearing just as we requested. The majority staff began reviewing the documents as soon as they arrived and has already completed its review, there is thus absolutely no reason — that’s no reason to delay the hearing. We have received and read every page of judge Brett Kavanaugh’s extensive public record, this includes twelve years of his judicial service on the most important federal circuit court in the country where we offered 307 opinions and joined hundreds more, amounting to more than 10,000 pages of judicial writing. We also received and read more than 17,000 pages of his speeches, articles, teaching materials, other documents that Judge Kavanaugh submitted with his questionnaire…”
Grassley referred to Kavanaugh’s questionnaire as “the most robust” the committee “has ever issued”.
Stating that they’d received and read over 483,000 pages of documents, Grassley claimed this was “more pages than the last five Supreme Court nominees combined” and constituted “more materials” than they’ve had for any nominee in the history of SCOTUS, saying “that’s why I proceed.”
By no means was this definitive nor the matter settled, as the objections over the documents continued throughout the remainder of the morning, which objections and responses you can see here at Mediaite.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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