Washington Senator Patty Murray has joined her Democratic colleagues in pushing for the release of additional Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh documents before a Senate vote that could be scheduled as early as late September.
Senators Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, along with other Senate Democrats sent a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn, asking that the withheld documents be released.
Republican lawmakers have argued that they have released more documents about Kavanaugh than for previous Supreme Court nominees. However, Judge Kavanaugh carries with him a long paper trail having worked as an attorney for the George W. Bush administration and also as an an associate counsel for independent counsel Kenneth Starr, investigating former President Bill Clinton.
“There are a number of documents that are not available to the public right now that outline an incredible lot of how Judge Kavanaugh thinks, bearing in mind this is a lifetime appointment, we believe that it is the right of American people and certainly everyone voting for or against Judge Kavanaugh to know that,” said Senator Murray, who is not on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Murray says she's particularly concerned with Judge Kavanaugh’s position on Roe v. Wade, especially following a New York Times report about a leaked 2003 email in which Kavanaugh appears to question whether the landmark ruling is settled law.
“The broader point was simply that it was overstating something about legal scholars,” Judge Kavanaugh said, defending the statement when asked about it during questioning on Thursday.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, pressed Judge Kavanaugh on the topic, asking whether he believes Roe v. Wade is “correctly settled law.”
"You can't give a thumbs up or thumbs down and maintain an independence of the judiciary,” Judge Kavanaugh responded.
“This is really critical in people’s understanding that it’s not just theoretical,” said Senator Murray of his statements. “He can sit before a committee and say it’s settled law, but he himself has said those supreme court members can overturn settled law which means they can overturn Roe. V Wade.”
Senator Murray only recently went public with her personal story of what’s helped shape her fierce defense of reproductive rights.
As a student at Washington State University, Murray says a friend of hers became pregnant after being date raped. The incident happened before the Roe v. Wade ruling, and Murray says her friend was forced into choosing a back-alley abortion.
“It was the only decision she could make at the time for herself and her future, and she ended up-- because of that procedure—never being able to have children,” said Murray. “That has a huge impact on me. I saw the real-life consequences of not having access to safe, legal abortion.”