The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Carle, 202-224-3693

Leahy And Other Senators File Suit For Hidden Kavanaugh Documents

Blumenthal, Leahy and others seek injunction today to compel the National archives and CIA to release supreme court nominee’s records


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), joined by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and others, are filing a lawsuit to compel the National Archives and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to release all records involving Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his time as an associate in the White House Counsel's office and as White House Staff Secretary. The senators are represented in this effort by American Oversight, a nonpartisan ethics and accountability watchdog.

Also joining the lawsuit are Senators Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

In the lawsuit filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the senators ask the court to order the National Archives and the CIA to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted on August 8, 2018. More than a month later, neither agency has provided the requested records. The lawsuit is accompanied by a motion seeking a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order to require the agencies to respond immediately.

"The Trump Administration and Senate Republicans' refusal to do their job--blocking us from doing ours -- has forced us to turn to the courts. Reviewing the full record of a nominee for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land isn't optional - it's obligatory," Blumenthal said. "Senate Republicans' shameful abdication of their Constitutional responsibility to vet this nominee now requires us to seek judicial intervention to obtain his record. There is too much at stake to accept anything less than a complete picture of Judge Kavanaugh's background."

Leahy said, "Any claims that the vetting of Judge Kavanaugh's record has been a transparent process are purely Orwellian. Senate Republicans have systematically blocked access to more than 90 percent of Judge Kavanaugh's record from the American people in a rush to confirm President Trump's nominee. In light of recent allegations, it is more important than ever for the Senate to have a full picture of Judge Kavanaugh's views, credibility, and character. Republicans have left us with no choice but to seek redress in a court of law - and to obtain documents that already should have been provided to the Senate. Hopefully this FOIA lawsuit will shine light on the vast tracts of Judge Kavanaugh's record that Republicans have kept hidden."

This lawsuit follows months of repeated efforts by Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats to obtain and review Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh's full record. In August, in the face of repeated obstruction by Senate Republicans, Blumenthal led all the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in submitting FOIA requests to the National Archives, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA.

The senators' FOIA requests were filed only after Republicans established a precedent-breaking, parallel document production process to circumvent established procedures for congressional review of a nominee's record and, in turn, keep secret a large majority of Judge Kavanaugh's long career paper trail.