As Potential Court Showdown on Abortion Looms, Demand Justice Urges Nadler to Seek Documents that May Reveal Kavanaugh’s Bias Against Roe

May 24, 2019

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New Report from Demand Justice Highlights the Potential Significance of Documents from Kavanaugh’s Tenure as Staff Secretary in the Bush White House

WASHINGTON, DC—On Friday, Demand Justice urged House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to seek unreleased documents that could prove that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is biased against Roe v. Wade, publishing a 26-page report about all the stones left unturned during Kavanaugh’s sham confirmation process.

This request is especially urgent now that states such as Alabama and Georgia have passed some of the strictest abortion bans the country has ever seen. President Trump openly boasted about only nominating judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe, and if these cases make their way to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh could provide the fifth vote to undermine abortion rights. However, documents kept hidden during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process could reveal his true views on Roe and call into question whether he should participate in abortion-related cases at all.

“With the stroke of a pen, Chairman Nadler can obtain the documents that Republicans worked so hard to conceal during Kavanaugh’s confirmation last year,” said Brian Fallon, Executive Director of Demand Justice. “These materials could potentially prove Kavanaugh lied under oath or they could at the very least provide a basis to insist he recuse himself from any case regarding Roe. Kavanaugh should not get the final say on abortion rights, and House Democrats should be pursuing every option at their disposal to prevent that scenario.”

President George W. Bush pushed many extreme, anti-abortion policies during the five years that Kavanaugh advised him. In 2003, Bush signed into law a ban on an abortion procedure; Kavanaugh at this time was serving as Staff Secretary in Bush’s White House and may have shared his views on Roe in the course of advising Bush on the matter.

The records from Kavanaugh’s tenure as Staff Secretary at the White House are held by the National Archives, and by law, the Archives must provide access to these documents to Congress if a committee chairperson requests them. During Kavanaugh’s confirmation process in 2018, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made a point to not seek these documents. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, sought the materials but was refused access since she was not the chairperson of the panel. Senator Richard Blumenthal subsequently led a group of Democrats in suing for access to these materials. But now that Democrats have taken back the House, Nadler can obtain these same documents through a simple request made in his capacity as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The larger report released by Demand Justice today details the extent to which Kavanaugh’s confirmation process was rushed and broken and describes all the potential red flags from Kavanaugh’s past that were not thoroughly investigated.

“The process used by the Republican-led Senate to fulfill its advice and consent responsibilities during last year’s confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh was fundamentally flawed and wholly inadequate,” the report reads. “The American people deserve to know why the usual advice and consent process was so badly broken last year, and whether allegations against Justice Kavanaugh of sexual assault, improper bias, and perjury have any factual basis. The public is just as entitled to a thorough review of his record now as it was before he was elevated to the Supreme Court.”

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