This morning, Senate Republicans held a nearly 25-minute press conference where they explained to reporters why they just can’t be bothered to turn over documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s time as a staff secretary for President George W. Bush, and why what they are turning over is plenty enough as it is. To illustrate this point, they brought some props.
In front of rows of boxes labeled “Kavanaugh files,” Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee argued that the documents they were providing were enough to fairly evaluate Kavanaugh. “These are 167 boxes. Each box would hold approximately 6,000 pages,” Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said.
Notice that he said “would hold” instead of “hold,” because these boxes were apparently completely fucking empty.
Then Tillis walked over to a posterboard showing the size of Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty, the Capitol, and the Taj Mahal, and said that if you stack all of the pages from the documents you’re providing on top of each other, it’s taller than each of those Big Buildings. Wow! That’s big!
“I guess there’s nothing that demonstrates that a picture’s worth a thousand words, what you see here,” Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley said. “As we do with every Supreme Court nominee, we’re not going to do anything less in the case of Kavanaugh, and that is to have a fair and thorough process.”
According to a Washington Post report on Wednesday, however, the National Archives told Grassley that they wouldn’t be able to produce all of the estimated 900,000-plus pages of Kavanaugh files requested by the Judiciary Committee until the end of October—right before the midterm election, in which Republicans could very well lose their Senate majority. Even so, Grassley told the post that he expects confirmation hearings to begin in September. Funny how that works!
In response to a reporter’s question about Kavanaugh’s staff secretary files, Grassley repeatedly erroneously referred to Kavanaugh as Bush’s “chief of staff” and said that his communications in the Bush administration were “probably more sensitive” than Justice Elena Kagan’s memos as solicitor general, which Republicans say they felt were “inappropriate” to ask for at the time of Kagan’s nomination in 2010.
“We feel that asking for them is not anything but a point of delaying the confirmation of Kavanaugh,” Grassley said.
The Democrats, being in the Senate minority and no longer having the filibuster as a tool to stop Supreme Court nominations, don’t really have the leverage to force the Republicans’ hand on this. What’s more, it looks like neither of the two GOP senators who’ve been mentioned as potential no votes on Kavanaugh—Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—think that his files related to his time as a top official for one of the worst-run administrations in recent history should be released.
“It’s just amazing to me that [Democrats] have made such a farce out of this,” added Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah at the press conference. “I want to really compliment the Democrats who have stood up for Judge Kavanaugh because they realize we can’t keep going down this partisan, picky, stupid, dumbassed road that has happened around here for so long. I’m sick and tired of it, to be honest with you...frankly, we didn’t treat their candidates for these positions the way they’re treating ours.”
Merrick Garland must be shitting bricks right now.