WASHINGTON – In an unexpected twist in the Supreme Court showdown over Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the National Archives announced Thursday they will not be able to fulfill a request for almost a million pages of documents on the judge until the end of October.
But according to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, this will not be a problem because the Bush Library is already making the same documents available right away.
“As a result, I expect the committee will be able to undertake its thorough review process along the same timeline set in previous Supreme Court confirmations. As Chairman Grassley said this morning, he intends to hold a hearing sometime in September. In the end, the committee will have reviewed significantly more records than ever before for a Supreme Court nominee,” read a statement from Judiciary Committee staff.
Republicans hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed by the start of the next Supreme Court session, Oct. 1.
Many Democratic senators have refused to meet with Judge Kavanaugh until almost a million pages of documents related to his time working for the Bush administration are released. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have been negotiating for weeks about what documents would be requested but ultimately did not reach a consensus.
While Grassley agreed to request documents pertaining to Kavanaugh's time doing legal work for President George W. Bush, he refused Feinstein's request for documents relating to his time as a staff secretary for Bush.
"For this Supreme Court nominee, it's probably the deepest dive we've had into the background of a Supreme Court justice, at least from the quantity of material available," Grassley told reporters Thursday. "Roughly a million pages are already in the process of being made available."
Grassley says he will not ask the National Archives to release the documents from Kavanaugh's time as White House staff secretary because they are too sensitive. He also noted that the Democrats have asked for every email from the White House that even mentions Kavanaugh's name during his time working there – a request Grassley calls "unreasonable."
"I question the sincerity of demands for more documents," said Grassley. "What more do they need to know to vote no?"
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) says these requests for additional documents are just a stall tactic, and what really matters are the 300 opinions Kavanaugh has been a part of that are already available.
"Those are documents that presumably our colleagues have looked at, but they haven't found much in it to build a case against the nominee so now they've decided to take it down a different path, which I believe is more of a stall tactic than anything else," said Tillis.
Tillis says the Democratic senators most vocal about having the documents released, like Sens. Feinstein and Cory Booker (D-NJ), have already said they will not vote for Kavanaugh.
"In the past, I think 170,00 or 180,000 pages was considered by Sen. (Patrick) Leahy as historic," continued Tillis. "We're going to see a submission of documents over the next several weeks that will be the equivalent of the documentation that have been submitted in total for the last five Supreme Court nominees."
During Thursday's press conference with Republicans leaders on the Senate Judiciary Committee, GOP senators stood in front of over 167 boxes that each can hold roughly 6,000 pages labeled "Kavanaugh Files" to show the massive amount of pages already being made available.
"If you were to stack up all these pages, it'd be taller than Big Ben, taller than the Statue of Liberty, taller than the US Capitol," Tillis pointed out.
An irritated Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called on his Democratic colleagues to stop playing partisan games with what he says is a highly qualified candidate.
"He's got all the legal credentials you'd ever want in a Supreme Court Justice," said Hatch. "I'm tired of the partisanship and frankly we didn't treat their candidates for these positions the way they're treating ours."
"The fact of the matter is that Judge Kavanaugh is going to sit on the United States Supreme Court when we're through," Hatch added.