“Republicans know how extreme Brett Kavanaugh’s record is, so they’re making up rules to hide it from the public. The American people deserve to know a SCOTUS nominee’s views on issues like race and abortion,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted on Thursday. “I stand with Cory Booker and Mazie Hirono.”
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The two Democratic senators’ decision to bypass Senate rules to make several so-called “confidential” Kavanaugh documents available to the public comes as progressive groups continue to pressure Democrats to use every procedural tool at their disposal to block the lifetime nomination of a judge that poses a dire threat to women, workers, and the planet.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, a coalition of progressive organizations argued that Grassley does not have the power to hide Kavanaugh documents from the public and urged Senate Democrats to “immediately read them into the Senate record.” The day before, Democrats had been urged by those opposed to both Kavanaugh as a jurist and the Republican-controlled confirmation process to “just get up and walk out” of the hearing.
And while progressives applauded Hirono and Booker for releasing the Kavanaugh documents, they argued that Democrats must go much further to block the judge’s nomination.
“If Booker and the other Democratic senators are serious here, they should all start sequentially releasing all prejudicial and incriminating documents against Kavanaugh now during the course of the hearings when they will be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause [of the Constitution],” said Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. “This would include documents relating to torture and war crimes.”
In an op-ed for Common Dreams on Thursday, political analyst and essayist Thomas Neuburger argued that Democrats have the power to block Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court “if they want to.”
“First, if Republicans don’t agree to table the nomination until 2019, every Democratic senator but one will boycott the Senate chamber for the rest of the year,” Neuburger wrote, outlining one possible procedural strategy Democrats could deploy. “Then the one remaining Democrat, a rotating position, will rise to deny unanimous consent on every matter the Senate tries to take up, including each quorum call. This means all 50 Republicans (with the passing of John McCain) must be in or near the chamber on any day Republicans wish to do business.”
“Even if Democrats execute this perfectly though, and Kavanaugh is confirmed, they will nonetheless prove that the ‘constitutional revolution’ his confirmation guarantees—which even Republican voters will come to hate—is entirely of Republican doing,” Neuburger concluded. “That will pay Democrats dividends down the road, in the same way that being complicit could cost them dearly.”
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