- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2018

The National Archives has rebuffed Democrats’ attempts to force the release of perhaps 3 million pages of documents from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s time in government service, dealing a significant blow to Democrats’ attempt to derail his elevation to the Supreme Court.

Archivist David Ferriero said he can only respond to requests that come from the chairman of a committee — in this case Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, who only requested about 1 million pages of documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the independent counsel’s office in the 1990s and later in the Bush White House counsel’s office.

That rules out responding to the request by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, for 3 million pages of additional documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary to President George W. Bush.

Mr. Ferriero, in a letter dated Wednesday, said he is going by a longstanding policy in only abiding by the request from the committee chairman.

He said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer had called earlier in the week and asked for an updated assessment, which Mr. Ferriero sought. The response back from Archives lawyers and the Justice Department was that the current interpretation stands.

“NARA remains unable to respond to PRA special access requests from ranking minority members,” Mr. Ferriero wrote to Mr. Schumer.

The Presidential Records Act governs the documents from past White Houses, allowing the Archives to release records earlier than they usually would be under the normal delay built into the law.

The Kavanaugh documents have become the chief battleground over the judge’s nomination to fill the seat of retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Democrats say they want to see all the documents possible, saying that the materials handled by Judge Kavanaugh as staff secretary from 2003 to 2006, when he helped determine which papers made it to the president’s desk, will say important things about his philosophy.

Republicans counter that the judge’s philosophy toward the law can best be gleaned from looking at the more than 300 opinions he authored since winning a seat on the federal circuit court of appeals in Washington, D.C., in 2006.


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