President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next justice on the Supreme Court –- Judge Brett Kavanaugh -– is set for a confirmation hearing on Sept. 4, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Friday.
The announcement comes amid the release of a trove of documents related to Kavanaugh's time in the White House. Democrats argue that it is a "mad rush" while Republicans are saying it is time to get on with the process.
“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,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement Friday.
Grassley said he expects Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing will last three to four days, with opening statements by committee members set to begin Sept. 4. Questioning will begin the following day.
The committee has received the largest number of Executive Branch records ever for the consideration of a Supreme Court nominee, according to the press release sent by Grassley’s office.
Grassley said the committee has received more than 184,000 pages of records from Kavanaugh’s work as a White House lawyer and for his work for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.
Kavanaugh once helped write the Starr Report, which outlined broad grounds on which to impeach President Clinton for his role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“With the Senate already reviewing more documents than for any other Supreme Court nominee in history, Chairman Grassley has lived up to his promise to lead an open, transparent and fair process. Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to addressing the Judiciary Committee in public hearings for the American people to view," White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement Friday following the announcement.
The chairman said the committee still expects to receive hundreds of thousands of additional pages of documents.
“He’s a mainstream judge. 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. 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. It’s time for the American people to hear directly from Judge Kavanaugh at his public hearing,” Grassley said in his statement.
Kavanaugh’s lengthy paper trail has become a part of a tit-for-tat between Republicans and Democrats in an increasingly tense political battle over his confirmation.
Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, have held off on meeting with Kavanaugh over the document dispute.
On Friday, Schumer blasted Grassley's decision to announce a confirmation hearing as a "mad rush" amid the ongoing dispute over Kavanaugh's records.
"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 that they are hiding important information from the American people, and continues to raise the question, ‘What are they hiding?’" Schumer said in a statement.
“Republican efforts to make this the least transparent, most secretive Supreme Court nomination in history continue," Schumer said. "They seem to be more frightened of this nominee’s record and history than any we’ve ever considered.”
Schumer and Feinstein announced last week they plan to meet with Kavanaugh after the Senate returns from its shortened recess on August 15, and urge him to ask the National Archives and President George W. Bush to support the release of “all of his files” from his time spent working in the Bush White House.
Grassley has previously said Kavanaugh’s vetting process is probably the “deepest dive” ever conducted on a Supreme Court nominee.