Senator Jeff Merkley has filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and his Republican pals in the senate to halt the confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court—at least until all documents from Kavanaugh's past are made public. According to Merkley, the Trump Administration has concealed a number of important documents from Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House.
"The unprecedented obstruction of the Senate’s advice and consent obligation is an assault on the separation of powers and a violation of the Constitution," writes Merkley in a press release announcing his litigation.
Merkley and his fellow senators may already have access to many of these documents. But, Merkley argues, that access should also be granted to the general public. According to Merkley, 141,000 pages of public documents from Kavanaugh's White House tenure are only allowed to be seen by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the group of senators holding Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings.
In his lawsuit, Merkley notes that this type of obfuscation of public records is unprecedented in a confirmation process of this magnitude.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee has a 'longstanding, bipartisan expectation . . . that any materials produced while a nominee was a public servant that could shed light on his or her views, thinking, or temperament, that are not privileged, should be subject to public scrutiny and carefully considered by the Senate prior to confirmation,'" reads the complaint, referencing a letter sent by Sen. Patrick Leahy to the White House in August.
Merkley's sweeping injunction was filed hours after a third woman publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexually abusing women—including herself— in the early 1980s.