For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Sierra Club Statement On Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing Dates

WASHINGTON - Today, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley announced that he intends to hold hearings September 4-6 for Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s extremist Supreme Court nominee.

In an unprecedented move, Sen. Grassley scheduled the hearings before Kavanaugh’s records have been released. Kavanaugh spent over five years in the White House under President George W. Bush, first as White House Counsel and then as Staff Secretary, and has more than 4 million documents in his record from that time. To date, Sen. Grassley has only requested a fraction of these records from Kavanaugh’s time as White House Counsel, completely disregarding the vast majority of the records archived.

On his time at the White House, Kavanaugh has said, “my five and a half years in the White House -- and especially my three years as Staff Secretary for President Bush -- were among the most interesting and in many ways among the most instructive.”

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:


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"Rather than being honest and forthright with the American people about Donald Trump’s extreme nominee for the Supreme Court, Senator Grassley and Senate Republicans are trying to rush Brett Kavanaugh through before anyone can see the full truth about his views. It is disgraceful and undemocratic for Senate Republicans to so blatantly  undermine the integrity of the Supreme Court, just to please Donald Trump. If Brett Kavanaugh was fit to be on the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans would have no issue releasing his full records. What are they trying to hide?”


Here is a timeline of Kavanaugh’s documents released to date:

  • July 27: Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley requests only the documents from Kavanaugh’s time as White House Counsel and did not request any documents from Kavanaugh’ three years as White House Staff Secretary. Kavanaugh himself described his time as Staff Secretary as “among the most instructive” experiences to his work as a federal court judge. We can see why.
  • July 30: Previous Staff Secretaries during the Clinton and Obama Administrations affirmed that as Staff Secretary, Kavanaugh would have likely played a “substantive role” in key decisions.
  • July 31:  Senate Judiciary Democrats request all available documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the White House (2001-2006).
  • August 1: The National Archives said that they have more than 1.2 million documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the White House, including an estimated 1 million documents from his time as Staff Secretary.
  • August 2: The National Archives said it will take until the end of October 2018 to produce just the documents Sen. Grassley requested.
  • August 2: Sen. Grassley and Senate Republicans said they are still planning to move forward with Kavanaugh’s hearings , even without the vast majority of Kavanaugh’s documents. A GOP source even said, “I can’t envision a scenario where that vote is delayed.”
  • August 2: Former President George W. Bush revealed he is working with William A. Burck -- a right-wing political operative who served as a deputy to Kavanaugh in 2005 and is currently the attorney representing Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, and Donald McGahn in the Russia probe -- to vet which documents from Kavanaugh’s record are released to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • August 5: Trump’s lawyer said that if Mueller subpoenas Trump, he’ll file a “motion to quash” the subpoena that would likely go to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh -- who previously said that a sitting President should be above the law, should not be subject criminal indictment, no matter what evidence is uncovered, and can ignore the laws they think are unconstitutional -- would likely have the swing vote on this decision.
  • August 8: Sen. Blumenthal and Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats file a Freedom of Information Act request seeking release all of Kavanaugh’s White House documents.
  • August 9: After attorney William A. Burck vetted the initial documents from the Bush Library, the documents were sent only to the Senate Judiciary Committee members. Of that small portion, only 5,800 non-substantive documents were released publicly. To date, these are the only documents of the more than 4 million in Kavanaugh’s record. The Judiciary Committee said they only plan to release 125,000 documents total.
  • August 10: Senator Grassley announces that Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings will be held Sept. 4-6, 2018.

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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