During a round of remarks before the questioning kicked off, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he was going to release an email titled â€œracial profiling,â€ which the senator referenced Wednesday, that had been designated committee confidential.
Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had complained that Democrats had been asking Kavanaugh about confidential documents without going through the process he laid out of getting permission to make them public.
â€œI come from a long line, as of all us do as Americans, of understanding of what that kind of civil disobedience is and I understand the consequences, so I am, before your process is finished, Iâ€™m going to release the email about racial profiling,â€ Booker said. â€œAnd I understand that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate.â€
After Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he was willing to violate Senate rules and release confidential documents, Senate Democrats on the committee appeared in open revolt as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) read aloud from the rules on expulsion. Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, alsoÂ tweetedÂ the rules on Thursday morning.
Cornyn read aloud from rules stating that a senator who discloses â€œthe secret or confidential businessâ€ of the Senate could be â€œliable … to suffer expulsion.â€
Booker responded by saying: â€œBring the charges.â€ His comment was echoed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who said: â€œApply the rule, bring the charges. All of us are ready to face that rule.â€
â€œThis is about the closest Iâ€™ll ever have in my life to an â€˜I am Spartacusâ€™ moment,â€ Booker said.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) also joined in, saying: â€œIf thereâ€™s going to be some retribution against the senator from New Jersey, count me in.â€
Their comments were echoed by Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), whoÂ tweetedÂ during the debate: â€œI stand w/ Judiciary Committee Democrats who are well within their rights to release these very important documents that a former Kavanaugh deputy designed as â€˜committee confidential.â€™ The American ppl deserve to know the truth about Judge Kavanaughâ€™s record. #WhatAreTheyHiding?â€
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have been protesting the extraordinary secrecyÂ and changes from standard procedure surrounding Kavanaugh’s paper trail. Republicans clearly are determined to railroad Kavanaugh’s approval, apparently believing he wouldn’t survive an open and deliberate process even with a Republican majority in the Senate.
One leaked letter has made headlines for casting doubt on Kavanaugh’s claim about Roe v. Wade being “settled law,” but I think this is even more interesting.
In anotherÂ document, Judge Kavanaugh expressed a critical view about some Department of Transportation affirmative action regulations, writing:
â€œThe fundamental problem in this case is that these DOT regulations use a lot of legalisms and disguises to mask what is a naked racial set-aside,â€ he wrote, adding that he thought the courtâ€™s four conservative justices at the time would probably â€œrealize as much in short order and rule accordingly.â€
Still another includes language about Native Hawaiians that could prove problematic not only to Hawaiiâ€™s two Democratic senators but to Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, a key swing vote who guards the interests of Native Alaskans. In the email, Mr. Kavanaugh questions Native Hawaiians as a protected group like Indian tribes. He wrote that prepared testimony â€œneeds to make clear that any program targeting Native Hawaiians as a group is subject to strict scrutiny and of questionable validity under the Constitution.â€
Anyway, I would like to seeÂ Chuck Grassley expel all the Democrats on the committee. There isn’t anything democratic about this nomination, and they might as well admit it.