Republicans may have the votes necessary to confirm Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, but Democrats aren't going down without a fight. The judge's confirmation hearings continued on Thursday, and the senate was thrown into chaos after documents marked "committee confidential" were leaked to the public.
Dem Senators Cory Booker, Patrick Leahy, Mazie Hirono, and Dianne Feinstein were behind the breach, citing the need for transparency about Kavanaugh's professional history and his time spent working for George W. Bush. Booker led the way, releasing a batch of emails related to race. In one message from 2002, while discussing post 9-11 security, Kavanaugh said that procedures should be race-neutral though implementing them could take time. "the people (such as you and I) who generally favor effective security measures that are race-neutral DO need to grapple - and grapple now -- with the interim question of what to do before a truly effective and comprehensive race-neutral system is implemented," the judge wrote about a possible interim policy.
Sen. Feinstein then read aloud another unreleased document, in which Kavanaugh openly discusses the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Regarding the case that legalized abortion on a national level, Kavanaugh specifically said that he was "not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent."
The 2003 email statement contradicts Kavanaugh's previous public viewpoints. According to ABC News, he's repeatedly referred to Roe as "settled law." Kavanaugh has also stated that other abortion cases followed the precedent set by Roe, but he wouldn't comment on how he might vote on any future cases.
Kavanaugh also continues to ignore questions and requests for comment about other policies or things like Trump's attacks on judges. "I'm not going to get within three zip codes of a political controversy," Kavanaugh said on Thursday. "I've spoken about my respect and appreciation for the eight justices on the Supreme Court. I know they're all dedicated public servants who have given a great deal to this country."
Dramatic moment when Booker pledges to release committee confidential documents whether Republicans agree or not and Cornyn threatens to to try to expel him from the Senate
"Bring it," Booker says
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 6, 2018
Republicans expressed their disdain for the leaked documents throughout the day. When Booker initially threatened to release the confidential information, Republican Sen. John Cornyn warned that he could be expelled from the Senate.
"Bring it," Booker replied.
Cornyn later accused Booker of "conduct unbecoming of a senator."
"Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate or of confidentiality of the documents that we are privy to," Cornyn added, referring to rumors that Booker is considering a 2020 White House bid.
However, Booker and other Dem senators may not have broken any rules. Bush's attorney actually authorized the release of the documents beforehand.
"We cleared the documents last night shortly after Senator Booker's staff asked us to,"said former President Bush's attorney, William Burck, in a statement. "In fact, we have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public."
Despite the drama, Republicans are still expected to confirm Kavanaugh in time for the first day of the fall Supreme Court term.