Republicans Take ‘Deep Dive’ on Kavanaugh Docs

Democrats’ request for more documents about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is more about delay than discovery, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said at a press conference held by five Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Aug. 2.

The Republicans stood in front of a mountain of 167 empty cardboard boxes intended to represent all the papers they would produce.

You might call this “The Great Paper Chase,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.

If you stack these boxes on top of one another they would be taller than Big Ben or the Statue of Liberty, Tillis said.

It’s the deepest dive we’ve ever taken in terms of number of documents released for a Supreme Court nominee, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said. The total exceeds all the documents produced for the last five high court nominees, he said.

Grassley questioned the sincerity of Democrats’ demands for additional documents.

Those who want them already indicated they won’t vote for Kavanaugh, he said.

Kavanaugh is a “choirboy” in terms of his reputation and has all the qualifications needed for a Supreme Court Justice, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said.

“We can’t keep going down this partisan, stupid, dumb-ass road,” he said.

Dems Want More Docs

This wasn’t the first time this week a backdrop of empty boxes was used to make a point.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stood beside empty boxes labeled “Missing Records” during a conference July 31 to draw attention to documents Republicans weren’t producing.

Grassley angered Democrats last week by making a partisan request to the National Archives for documents, contrary to past tradition. The request omitted documents from Kavanaugh’s three years as staff secretary under George W. Bush, when he was in charge of all documents to and from the president.

Schumer said he asked the National Archivist, David Ferriero, to consider releasing all the records.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com