Six Senate Democrats Sue to Compel Kavanaugh Record Turnover

(Bloomberg) -- Six Senate Democrats including Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal and California’s Kamala Harris are seeking a court order compelling the National Archives and Records Administration to turn over documents regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s work under President George W. Bush.

The senators, who all serve on the Judiciary Committee considering Kavanaugh’s nomination, filed the complaint Monday in federal court in Washington. The Central Intelligence Agency is also named as a defendant in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The Democrats called their lawsuit "a last resort," compelled by Republican refusal to seek "whole categories of documents" relevant to the confirmation process.

President Donald Trump nominated the Washington federal appeals court judge in July to replace retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. But Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been slowed by minority Democrat demands for more information about his time in the Bush White House where he served as an assistant to the president and senior associate counsel before being made a judge.

The confirmation was thrown into further turmoil over the weekend as a research psychologist in northern California went public with an allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while in high school. Both Republicans and Democrats want the woman and Kavanaugh to testify before the committee about the allegation before a vote.

The suing senators, who also include Vermont’s Patrick Leahy, Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono and Cory Booker of New Jersey, claim the National Archives acknowledged their request on Aug. 8, but has failed to act on it. They also asked for information from the CIA and from Bush’s presidential library, according to court papers. The library has complied. The agency has not.

The disclosure "is critical to inform the public regarding a pivotal lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court," the lawmakers said, adding that Senate Republicans have declined to seek "whole categories" of papers related to Kavanaugh’s nomination, violating traditional norms and past practices.

Led by Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Senate Judiciary Committee also includes ranking minority member Dianne Feinstein of California. The hearing on Kavanaugh’s confirmation ran from Sept. 4 through Sept. 7.

The case is Blumenthal v. National Archives and Records Administration, 18-cv-2143, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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