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Thursday round-up

Senate Democrats yesterday opened a new front in their effort to obtain records from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s tenure as staff secretary to President George W. Bush. At The Hill, Jordain Carney reports that the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee “filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on Wednesday to try to force the Trump administration to hand over documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s time working in the White House.” Additional coverage comes from Igor Bobic at Huffpost, who reports that “Democrats are particularly interested in whether [Kavanaugh] authored or edited any documents relating to the Bush administration’s controversial enhanced interrogation and warrantless wiretapping programs.” At The Hill, John Bowden reports that “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that she is ‘alarmed’ that Democrats have been denied requested documents from the National Archives on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.”

At Medium, Fatima Foss Graves argues that “a review of all the documents that make up … Kavanaugh’s record is essential to assess whether he is fit to sit on the Supreme Court.” In an op-ed for The Hill, Jenny Beth Martin suggests that “Senate Democrats, playing politics with the Supreme Court nomination, may be setting a precedent they will one day regret if and when they get back into the Senate majority.”

At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that Kavanaugh’s “deep[] suspicio[n] of any attempt to limit the president’s power over executive branch officials” “could have important consequences for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election.” For this blog, Sarah Harrington looks at Kavanaugh’s two opinions in a high-profile case involving independent agencies and presidential power. At Legal Planet, Julia Stein examines Kavanaugh’s record in environmental law cases, concluding that “a Justice Kavanaugh would likely present a hurdle to future agency attempts to regulate climate change within the existing statutory framework.”

At Slate, Eric Segall observes that although Kavanaugh’s nomination “triggered immediate fear among most liberals and progressives,” “[t]here’s a reason … for conservatives to also have anxiety about the … nomination: The rare times in our history that the court has gone as far outside the ideological mainstream as Kavanaugh may well take the court have resulted in major public backlash and even constitutional crisis.” In an op-ed for The Hill, Steven Calabresi argues that Kavanaugh’s endorsement of originalism does not necessarily threaten Supreme Court precedents protecting abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The editorial board of The Washington Post urges the Senate “to use the nominee’s confirmation hearings to find out where [Kavanaugh] stands on open carry, as well as on other laws aimed at curtailing gun violence.”


  • Tony Mauro reports at The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required) that “[b]y an accident of timing, retired Justice Anthony Kennedy has apparently given his U.S. Supreme Court colleagues a gift that will keep on giving for the upcoming term: what is likely to be a record number of law clerks.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman analyzes the recent “pro-business trajectory” of the Supreme Court.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Aug. 9, 2018, 7:34 AM),