The ever-sensitive weathervanes at Politico:
Partisan tensions over records on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh boiled over on Tuesday, as Democrats insisted on access to all communications from his five years in the George W. Bush White House while Republicans tried to narrow the scope of the massive document release.
Amid the back-and-forth over records, a final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh could end up slipping past the GOP goal of getting President Donald Trump’s pick seated in time for the early-October start of the Supreme Court term. The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to schedule a hearing for Kavanaugh, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed only that the chamber would “finish this nomination” before the midterm elections…
Democrats counter that they are seeking to impose the same standard for document releases that Justice Elena Kagan received during her Supreme Court confirmation process, including emails she received but did not author as solicitor general in the Obama administration. Applying the same logic to Kavanaugh, Republicans said, is unwarranted because of his 12 years on the federal bench — in contrast to Kagan’s lack of previous judicial service.
“We could have up to five times as many pages from his time in the White House than we got from Justice Kagan,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on the floor. “And we will have those documents despite the fact that they’re less necessary now than they were for Justice Kagan.”
[Man’s a good Republican; what more do we need to know?]
Kavanaugh, for his part, described his time as staff secretary as “in many ways among the most instructive” for his future career as a judge, in 2010 remarks that he submitted to the Judiciary panel ahead of his pending hearing.
“When it comes to documents, people say: If we can’t apply the Kagan rule to this, then all bets are off,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Tuesday….
Ed Kilgore, at NYMag, last Friday:
… This is both a stalling tactic and fishing expedition: Before allowing Republicans to confirm a fifth anti-choice justice, Chuck Schumer’s caucus want to check each and every one of the great carpool dad’s closets for a skeleton.
But now, Mitch McConnell is warning his Democratic colleagues that, should they persist in their demands for transparency, they will hurt no one but themselves…
And yet, if McConnell truly believed his own threat — if the majority leader was entirely confident that a delayed Kavanaugh confirmation would redound to his party’s electoral benefit — then he would ostensibly be planning to do so, no matter what records the Democrats did or did not request.
The longer the Kavanaugh fight wears on, the more time progressive activists in Maine and Alaska have to mobilize pressure on the (putatively) pro-choice senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. What’s more, if some late-breaking revelation were to sink Kavanaugh in October, it is at least conceivable that the confirmation of his replacement could drag out into the next Congress. And there is a small — but not entirely negligible — chance that Democrats could control the upper chamber next January…
Kilgore’s NYMag colleague Benjamin Hart (in an essay that would deserve its own post in a less-newsy era) points out that “Red State Democrats Have No Good Reason to Vote for Brett Kavanaugh” — he’s not popular, his policies are distinctly unpopular, and there’s no reason to believe doing so would help even in deep-red states. (Also: Merrick Garland, plus it’s the right thing to do.)
Buzzfeed has posted Kavanaugh’s extremely comprehensive Senate Questionnaire, which has no doubt raised new questions about his past rulings and future bent…
I’m actually a little bit hopeful that professional political staffer Dana Houle may be right: