Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Ia., said the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin to hold confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on September 4.
“As I said after his nomination, Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most respected jurists in the country and one of the most qualified nominees ever to be considered by the Senate for a seat on our highest court,” Chairman Grassley said. “My team has already reviewed every page of the over 4,800 pages of judicial opinions Judge Kavanaugh wrote, over 6,400 pages of opinion she joined, more than 125,000 pages of records produced from his White House legal service, and over 17,000 pages in response to the most comprehensive questionnaire ever submitted to a nominee.”
“He’s a mainstream judge,” he added.
President Donald Trump in July nominated Judge Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Justice Kennedy announced in June he would retire from the Court, effective July 31, 2018.
Judge Kavanaugh, 53, serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and has authored more than 300 opinions.
“He has a record of judicial independence and applying the law as it is written. He’s met with dozens of senators who have nothing but positive things to say,” Chairman Grassley said. “At this current pace, we have plenty of time to review the rest of emails and other records that we will receive from President Bush and the National Archives.”
The confirmation would give President Trump a second nomination to the Court, and conservatives a chance to tip the ideological balance for a generation. The president nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia during his first year in office.
Both Justice Gorsuch and Judge Kavanaugh co-clerked for Justice Kennedy.
Democrats have sought to obstruct and delay the nomination, a position they feel they need to to in order to fire up their base ahead of the midterm elections. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took to Twitter to call the start of the hearings a “mad rush” to hide “important information” about the nominee.
“Republicans’ mad rush to hold this hearing after unilaterally deciding to block nearly all of Judge Kavanaugh’s records from public release is further evidence they are hiding important information from the American people, & continues to raise the question, #WhatAreTheyHiding?”
But the minority can’t use parliamentary tricks to prevent the confirmation hearings from starting, only stall them. Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul, R-Kty., announced he would support the nomination after speaking with Judge Kavanaugh multiple times.
Republicans will need to hold their lines, but also point to the pressure being put on Red State Democrats up for reelection in November.
Regardless, the hearings will begin 57 days after the official nomination, which Chairman Grassley’s office noted is beyond the timetable for Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Neil Gorsuch.
“It’s time for the American people to hear directly from Judge Kavanaugh at his public hearing,” Chairman Grassley added.