tv Senate Judiciary Committee Members on Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh CSPAN August 19, 2018 4:55pm-5:38pm EDT
airways that are valuable for communications are still squandered, they are allocated to things that were set aside 50, 60 years ago. the technologies are gone. the applications army. but -- are moot. but we are blocking appeared we need to come up with better mechanisms are my book is devoted to talking about things the regulators can do to unleash even more of what we have shown. in without the micromanagement of the federal communications commission are in washington. announcer: watch the communicators, monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, on c-span2. on thursday, the senate judiciary committee met to discuss chairman chuck grassley's decision to limit the request for supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh's records. senator grassley said some democrats were trying to solve the process for political reasons. this is about 40 minutes.
grassley: before we turn to today's his agenda, i would to speak briefly on the supreme court nomination. i mentioned last week that judge kavanaugh's confirmation hearing will begin september 4. senators will have had by then 57 days between the announcement of judge kavanaugh's nomination, and the start of the hearing. this is a longer time than we had for justices kagan and gorsuch, and sotomayor. this longer time is how, this is time of how this is another example that this is the most transparent confirmation process of all time.
in his 12 years on the d.c. circuit, judge kavanaugh issued more than 300 opinions and joined hundreds more. as senator schumer and way he duringleahy said justice's confirmation hearing, in nominee's judicial record is the best way to evaluate a nominee. judge kavanaugh also submitted more than 17,000 pages with his bipartisan judicial committee questionnaire, and that happens to be the most robust questionnaire given to a nominee. we have also received nearly 250,000 pages of documents from judge kavanaugh's service in the executive branch. this is already more than any previous supreme court nominee, with many more documents yet to come. most are already publicly available and we are working to make the vast majority of them publicly available as quickly as possible.
we had plenty of time to review all of these materials before the hearing. the majority staff has already reviewed nearly 80% of them. unfortunately, some have tried to criticize what is the most transparent confirmation process. but where i think they are failing, and they are failing because democratic leaders have made their true goal obvious. stall the confirmation as long as possible in hopes the senate would flip in the midterm elections. i think they have tried to unsuccessfully apply the rule that bars confirmation during presidential election years. which they use to say they did not even exist to midterm elections and when that fell flat, they generated a
controversy in a desperate attempt to delay the confirmation. lest there be any doubt, we're following the precent -- the precedent established during justice kagan's nomination. we are requesting a significant number of judge kavanaugh's documents from his time in the executive branch. both sides agreed not to ask for internal documents from justice kagan's time in the solicitor general's office because of their sensitivity. likewise, we are not asking for judge kavanaugh's documents as secretary. these documents are more sensitive because they contain advice to the president and are at the heart of executive privilege. some say we need the documents because the judge stated in his time as secretary that those times were formative for him. justice kagan described her time as solicitor general as
indicative as how she would serve as a justice. we still did not ask for her solicitor general papers and we will not ask for judge kavanaugh's secretary papers. some of my colleagues have forgotten that we had a more compelling need for justice kagan's documents because she had no judicial record, she had issued zero opinions, and joined zero opinions at the time she was nominated. judge kavanaugh, by contrast, has issued over 300 opinions and joined hundreds more in the 12 years on the bench. despite having a less compelling need for them, the senate will still receive hundreds of thousands more pages of documents from judge kavanaugh's
time as a government lawyer than we did from justice kagan. there have been some criticisms in the way with which this review is being handled. these are groundless. first of all, the national archives are not being cut out of the process. the president is legally authorized to review these administration documents and decide which ones to release to the senate and claim that others are privileged. that is exactly what his team is doing now. additionally, some have labeled the attorney bill burke, he is a leading attorney in the review of president bush's documents as a partisan lawyer. from what i have found out from other people, he is a partner in one of the most liberal law
firms in the country and is one of president bush's presidential records act representatives since president bush left the white house in 2009. mr. burke handled the initial review of justice gorsuch's documents and there were no complaints about his doing that at the time of justice gorsuch being considered by the committee. i do not recall complaints of partisan lawyers reviewing kagan's documents. the national director of president clinton's enactment to campaign, a person who helped fix things for the white house and longtime ceo of the clinton foundation reviewed justice kagan's documents. leslie kiernan, also prominent in democratic party politics, reviewed justice sotomayor's documents before the senate received them.
if these individuals could review nominees' documents, before producing them to the senate, i think it is perfectly legitimate for mr. burke to do that as well. so i do not see rationale behind the criticism. the following nominees will be held over. ryan nelson, ninth circuit, richard sullivan, second circuit, gary brown, east district of new york, steven districtstern missouri, diane, to the eastern district, new york, eric kometi , eastern district of new york, rachel, eastern district of new
york, lewis lymon, southern district, new york, john o'connor, northeastern and western district of oklahoma. john sinatra, western district of new york, and mary, southern district of new york. josh, eastern district of pennsylvania, and james carroll, director of national drug policy. we do not have enough to do that at this time. what i said, they will be held over and we will reach that later on. we also have to consider s-2961, victims of child abuse act reauthorization. that is on the agenda for the first time. the bill extends a program last authorized in 2013, which makes federal resources available for
more than 850 children's advocacy centers across the country. these rely on multidisciplinary teams to do forensic interviews of child abuse victims. senator blunt introduced this bill, and i am a cosponsor along with senators kunz, carmen, also. it is now time for senator feinstein and other members to speak. senator feinstein. senator feinstein: thanks very much, mr. chairman. i listened to your words with interest because i know you have a difference of opinion on the subject. judge kavanaugh's nomination hearing has been scheduled for september 4 and that is 19 days away. i want to say a few words about why the documents from his time in the white house should be publicly available in time for the hearing. the long-standing practice of
the committee in the senate is to ensure as much transparency as possible. and to ensure that the senate and the american people have access to a nominee's full record. you mentioned kagan. let me use her as an example. 99% of her white house record was provided to the committee and to the public prior to the hearing. those documents were reviewed and produced to the committee by the national archives and followed the requirements of the presidential records act. that practice appears not to be followed here. instead, under an agreement with a lawyer representing former president bush, as you pointed out, the committee has received roughly 174,000 pages from judge kavanaugh's tenure in the white house counsel as of last
evening. apparently, at 11:20, another 60,000 pages arrived last evening. this is just a small fraction. 19% of the chairman's request for judge kavanaugh's white house counsel documents. it is an even smaller fraction, about 2%, of his total white house record. notably, what we now have is about the same number of pages for brett kavanaugh as we have for elena kagan. 170,000. that will be changed as you pointed out. but right now, that number record in 99% of her the white house, but represents only 2% of kavanaugh's white house record. my staff has been poring over these records, nearly completed its review. some of the documents are useful in assessing judge kavanaugh's
fitness for a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. but it further confirms the need to obtain the full record to adequately assess the nominee and have these documents publicly available before the hearing. i regret the decision to designate the vast majority of relevant documents as committee confidential. the irony is, there is no rule that defines what this means. but as of now, you have said only committee members and staff currently have access to these documents. my question for you, mr. chairman, is can we use these documents to question mr. kavanaugh at the hearing? to make a confirmation decision on a nominee based on secret documents not available to the public or the full senate, is extremely troubling.
i have participated in 10 supreme court nominations. i would like to take the opportunity to ask the chairman respectfully to ensure that the records are released before the hearing. in the same manner that has been done for previous supreme court nominations. it may seem trivial to debate how many pages we can or cannot review or what is public and what is not public, but withholding even a small number of documents from the senate or public could prevent key facts from being known. this is true because there is so much at stake in this nomination. if confirmed, brett kavanaugh would be the deciding vote on cases involving individuals' rights to privacy, liberty, and autonomy in the most personal aspects of their lives.
those fundamental rights guarantee that parents and not the state can direct the upbringing and education of their children, that women can make their own reproductive health care choices, and that all can marry whom they love and carry out medical decision-making without the state. this nominee will also be the deciding vote in cases about whether federal agencies have the authority to curb climate change, protect consumers, safeguard workers rights, and let's not forget that judge kavanaugh would be the deciding vote in cases about voting rights and affirmative action. these are incredibly important issues for all americans. they define who we are as a nation and the extent of the freedoms that we all cherish under our constitution and laws. we have a constitutional duty to
provide advice and consent on this nominee, which requires a full vetting of his record and transparency and accountability to the american people. you are a fair man, mr. chairman. i know we have exchanged letters , and they showed some disagreement, but i'm hopeful that you can work to find a way that key documents can be made available to the public before these hearings. we need to live up to the promise to provide an open and transparent and fair process. the american people deserve no less. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. grassley: the answer to your question is yes. we will work with you to make sure committee confidential records are available and i will expand on that by reading here. i agreed to receive documents on a committee confidential basis to accelerate our review of these documents. the documents we received may
contain material which the presidential records act restricts from public access, including sensitive, confidential advice given to the president as well as personal information such as social security numbers and bank account numbers. after producing the documents to the committee, a second review is done to ensure they don't contain anything the review act restricts from public access. if they don't contain restricted material, president bush authorizes the committee to release documents and we put them on the committee website as quickly as we can. if they contain restrictive material, the committee keeps them on a confidential basis to with thee material presidential review act, records act, requires to be kept nonpublic and does not become public. this is consistent with our
practice in the gorsuch and kagan nominations where we received presidential act restricted material on a confidential basis. if we agree not to receive some presidential records act restrictive materials at all, in other words, they didn't even come to the committee. when then chairman leahy explained his decision to receive documents on a committee confirmation basis, he said he did so to permit prompt access to them. i did it for the same reason. i simply don't understand any complaints about getting records here quickly. you cannot simultaneously complain about not needing more time to review documents while also complaining we are getting documents too slowly.
we are working with the national archives and president bush to make as many documents as publicly available as quickly as possible. the following documents are already public. over 11,000 pages of opinions of judge kavanaugh wrote or joined in and over 17,000 pages of materials submitted in response to his questionnaire, and over 125,000 pages of executive branch records. we will have more of these soon and we are receiving them quite regularly as you stated, about 11:00 last night on a rolling basis. sen. feinstein: thank you. sen. grassley: you bet. who else wants to speak? senator leahy. go ahead. leahy: i have listened
to the statement, -- >> before you speak i want to ask unanimous consent since we don't have the proper number of people here for chairman leahy to speak. i don't hear any objections, so proceed. sen. leahy: thank you. the senator from iowa and i have been good friends for decades, but i must admit, listening to his recitation of history -- i recall as a child, i remember enjoying reading alice in wonderland. listening to the statements here, it brings me back to a happier, in some ways, more
realistic time, reading alice in wonderland. there are so many things wrong with the judiciary committee's vetting of judge kavanaugh, it is hard to know where to begin. the white house is well aware of judge kavanaugh's lengthy record as a political operative, but the president selected him nonetheless. now the burden falls to this committee to review his record for the american people. today, we are failing miserably. the full record is not some optional thing that we decide depending upon who the president might be. it is and should be a duty of the united states senate under our advice and consent clause. it is the most fundamental part of our constitutional obligation. to set the record straight compared to some things that
have been said, when i was chairman of the committee at the time, i worked with it then ranking member jeff sessions to request the full universe of justice kagan's documents from the clinton presidential library. we received 99% of them. they are available to everybody, republicans and democrats alike, on this committee. similarly, for justice sotomayor, i joined senator sessions and requested records from her time working with a civil rights organization in the 1980's. for a civil rights organization in the 1980's, republicans want ed to see that record. i say ok, fine. that was despite the fact that in between, she had issued more than 3000 opinions over 17 years as an appellate and district court federal judge.
i didn't say those opinions weren't worth looking at. we also, because republicans wanted all of the background on her, i said of course, supreme court nomination, let's get it. it would appear to be blatantly partisan if the american people didn't see the same from judge kavanaugh. every document of public interest should be made public. there should be no abuse of executive privilege, no hiding. the american people deserve the asarnished truth, just republicans rightly demanded of president obama's nominees. it does not make any difference whether they are republican or democrat nominees. you should have all the facts. but, the efforts, every
republican applauded at the time had such bipartisan openness. what republicans applauded at the time, now they have a different view. the committee is not on track to uphold the bipartisan standard of transparency that jeff sessions and i set. in fact, far from it. just weeks ago, some of my republican friends expressed a willingness to request white house documents that judge kavanaugh authored or contributed to as white house staff secretary. i applaud that. but whoops, in probably one of the fastest u-turns i've ever seen outside of a racetrack, that abruptly changed after a private meeting with the white house counsel on july 24.
same republicans thought it was great to have these records --suddenly -- that was then, a few minutes ago, and this is now. suddenly, all of the judge kavanaugh's records were off-limits, even those he authored. why were documents authored by judge kavanaugh fair game going in, but off the table coming out? what was the quiet conversation there in the white house? days later, chairman grassley sent a records request that omitted every single record from kavanaugh's three years as staff secretary. over one million of them. this was an astonishing omission, given that judge kavanaugh himself describes his
time as staff secretary the most formative for him as a judge. he provided advice on any issue that may cross the president's desk. it is bad enough and the story gets even worse. for every supreme court nominee since watergate, professional archivists with the national archives have reviewed any associated records and provided them to the senate judiciary committee as required by statute. that was something that began because of what we learned in watergate. for president trump's nominee, our committee for the first time ever is sidelining this process and saying for the first time since
watergate, we put back in a partisan process. a limited record the chairman has requested, national archives have stated, it is only completed a third of its review before the confirmation hearing, meaning two thirds would not be completed until october. yet our committee is going ahead notwithstanding that. so we're saying let's have the hearing, let's discuss the evidence,-, weight -- wait, we don't have the evidence. we will have a hearing now and have the evidence after the hearing. let's have the verdict first and do the trial later. it is a sad commentary on this committee. i've been honored to serve on this committee for over 40 years under republican and democratic leadership.
here we have a process begun after watergate, done to make sure you have everything, but in place of the national archives, we are told we must accept a political lawyer, handpicking what documents the senate and the american people get to see. by any definition, the process is hopelessly conflicted. you wouldn't even be able to sell a story line for something like this for a movie or a television or a play, because it is too preposterous. by any definition -- look at the partisan lawyer is picking and choosing what we are going to see. he also represents steve bannon, reince priebus, and counselor mcgann in the russian investigation.
he actually one time reported directly to judge kavanaugh in the white house. this lawyer is not even obligated to tell us what he is withholding and why. there is no requirement for privilege log. the process is so extraordinary that the national archives released a statement yesterday. in nearly 44 years in the senate i've never seen a statement like this. the national archives, which acts in a nonpartisan way, said they have nothing to do with the documents currently being supplied to our committee, as a side arrangement put together by a partisan lawyer, is unprecedented. i would note the website maintained by the majority attempts to address this concern. even that has misleading facts.
the website is the archives will still act as a check against any partisan interference. if they are allowed to do their job, that might be true. given the chairman's hearing date, that statement is false. it is totally false. the archives will conclude its review two months after the hearing, and a month after the confirmation vote. we will have the conclusion and then we will hear the evidence. a check on partisan interference occurs a month after the final vote. that is no check at all. it really does not pass the giggle test. it is amazing. i have served here a long time
and i have huge respect for republicans and democrats i served with. but i can't think of any time we have seen something like this. i cannot think of anything like or 390 senators have had the privilege to serve with. i do not approach this conclusion lightly. i walked around the woods at my farm last week in vermont, thinking about this. i came to this conclusion. it is the most incomplete, most partisan and least transparent vetting for any supreme court nominee i've ever seen. i have been here for every supreme court nominee since john paul stevens. i voted for most of them, republican and democratic
nominees, including chief justice. i think the reason i'm most concerned about it is there are questions about whether judge kavanaugh was truthful last time he testified before the senate. we now know he provided a misleading account of his work in the bush white house. he gave that account under oath. the only way we're going to know the whole truth is with a full record. republicans rightly demanded that from justices kagan and sotomayor and i joined them on that. it is also what the american people rightly deserve from judge kavanaugh. there is still time to get this right. it may mean a consideration that judge kavanaugh does not occur in september.
maybe a few weeks later but no need to rush. no extraordinary circumstances here that preclude the senate from doing its job, what we are sworn and paid to do, what we are elected to do, what the american people expect us to do. if the senate is to be the conscience of the nation. the president chose a nominee with a lengthy partisan record. it does not excuse this committee from vetting such a record. we have some responsibilities in the senate that are routine. areave some that extraordinarily important. the vote to go to war. the thing that is more important than that responsibility is how
we vote on a lifetime employment to the supreme court. that is an important responsibility. i think we senators ought to demonstrate to the american people that we are willing to carry out our responsibility. we've done in the past in a bipartisan way. let's at least have all of the facts out here. then every senator can vote the way he or she wants. i won't question any senators vote provided they have all of the facts when they vote. in a time in the american public raises questions about what is happening in washington, wouldn't it be nice for the american people to actually know what is behind the decision we make? and we can do that. it may take an extra week or two.
so what? it is a lifetime appointment. we don't have lifetime some serve longer than others. i see my good friend senator kennedy smiling. i think i know what he's thinking. the fact is this is a lifetime appointment. somebody who does not have to be reelected. let's just get it right. thank you. sen. grassley: though we are one person short of the majority it takes, i don't know whether a chairman needs unanimous consent to respond, but i would like to respond. i hope people will hear me out. i don't feel comfortable using the alice in wonderland analysis. we have seven people here now. i do not have to ask unanimous consent.
anyway, i don't feel comfortable using his alice in wonderland analysis, but if i were, i would start with the fact that the committee did not receive 99% of justice kagan's records. we didn't get her solicitor general records. we also did not get 66,000 emails that mention her name. with judge kavanaugh, we have a 12-year record of his judicial work. we also have received up to one million pages of his records, but ignoring the one million pages, i could at this time quote senator leahy at the time of judge sotomayor's quote. we have justice sotomayor's record from the federal bench. that is a public record that we
have even before she was designated by the president. judge sotomayor's mainstream record of judicial restraint and modesty is best indication of her judicial philosophy. we do not have to imagine what kind of a judge she will be, because we see what kind of a judge she has been. so it seems to me it is pretty clear that we have an equal amount of evidence to look at of judge kavanaugh's qualifications for being on the supreme court, and the amount of documents that we are going to have for judge kavanaugh is at least five times the number of records we have got for justice kagan, and then we will get -- in other words, we going to get five times as much for judge kavanaugh as we
got for justice kagan. that also kind of adds up to something we think is more than the records for five previous supreme court justices combined. so i think that anybody saying we don't have records and a very good basis for hearing and determining what judge kavanaugh is all about, being on the supreme court. and i will end with this. unsubstantiated questions about the accuracy of judge kavanaugh's testimony in 2006 do not require the productions of millions of pages from his
position of staff -- white house staff secretary. then chairman leahy refused the -- referred these allegations to the department of justice. the public integrity section determined there was not a sufficient basis to open up the criminal investigation. judge kavanaugh's response that he wasn't involved in the rules governing detention must be read in the context of the senator dick durbin's questioning at his nomination hearing. senator durbin's questions related to the administration's policies on torture and abuse of ive treatment of detainees. judge kavanaugh responded that he was not involved in those policies. multiple newspaper articles have reported that interrogation policies were highly compartmentalized in the white house, and that judge kavanaugh was never authorized to know about them. in any event, the allegations
are based on judge kavanaugh's time in the white house counsel's office, and the committee has already requested documents from that time. i do not see anybody asking to speak -- >> mr. chairman, following our normal procedure, you did say what percentage you got, but the fact is, senator sessions and i requested the records from the clinton library on now justice kagan, and we did get 99% of them. that is a fact. we can talk about how much we got or didn't get. the fact is jeff sessions and i requested it. i joined with him -- he wanted them, and i joined with him on the request. we got 99%. now if i may be excused, i have
and appropriations committee meeting to go to, as much as i hate to leave here. [laughter] sen. grassley: meeting adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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