Mitch McConnell meets with Brett Kavanaugh and Mike Pence
Credit: Mitch McConnell/Twitter

I am going to quote this Politico piece on the Republicans’ plan to ram Brett Kavanaugh down our throats at length because I think condensing it would lessen the impact.

Senate Republicans are pressing ahead on confirming Brett Kavanaugh before the midterm elections even after National Archives said Thursday that it can’t meet the GOP’s request for records until the end of October, days before the midterm elections.

The Archives made its timing announcement in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who appeared alongside four fellow Republicans on his committee earlier Thursday to tout the thoroughness of their nascent review of the nominee’s record.

However, the George W. Bush Presidential Library is lending its resources to processing Kavanaugh records in a bid to help expedite the release of the records Grassley and his fellow Republicans have requested.

Without the Bush Library‘s assistance on the GOP’s full request — projected to top 900,000 pages — the party’s plans to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterms could be imperiled.

But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has no intention of backing down from his vow to get Kavanaugh on the court before voters go to the polls for an election that could tip the Senate to Democrats.

“I can’t envision a scenario where that vote is delayed,” a source close to GOP leadership said Thursday. “I think they will have a good sense of what is out there on Kavanaugh. There’s no chance in hell Mitch McConnell holds this vote after the election.”

Democrats are blasting the Bush Library’s role, saying the screening process could be guided by political concerns given that lawyers operating on the former president’s behalf are leading the review of documents involving his longtime former aide, Kavanaugh.

“Today, the National Archives confirmed our worst fear – that the vast majority of even the small portion of records the American public will see from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House will be pre-screened by a political operative and attorney for George W. Bush, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, and Donald McGahn,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “This unprecedented process appears to be designed intentionally by Republicans to deny the Senate and the American people the information they need to evaluate this critically important nomination.”

I don’t have a lot to add to this. Both John Roberts and Elena Kagan worked in the executive branch before being nominated to the Supreme Court but neither of them produced anything close to the number of records Kavanaugh produced during his time with the administration of George W. Bush. Still, if the same standards apply, the Senate should see all of Kavanaugh’s records, just as they saw all of the records for Roberts and Kagan. The Democrats are making a reasonable demand and it shouldn’t be construed as a stalling tactic.

But we learned with the case of Merrick Garland that there is no norm the Republicans won’t violate in their bid to win a durable conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at