Yeomans: Signing Statements Could Reveal Kavanaugh’s Thinking
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 7, 2018 – In the latest edition of Yeomans Work, AFJ Justice Fellow Bill Yeomans writes about the Republican ploy to keep large portions of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s record secret — and why some portions of that record are key to assessing Kavanaugh’s fitness for the Supreme Court. “Brett Kavanaugh’s views regarding the scope of executive power will be central to his confirmation as a justice of the Supreme Court, ” Yeomans notes. “Careful examination of those views cannot proceed without full disclosure of his record.”
Right now, Republicans led by Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley are only requesting a portion of Kavanaugh’s White House record be reviewed as part of the confirmation process. That portion excludes his tenure as Staff Secretary to President George W. Bush.
But “Brett Kavanaugh was at Bush’s side while Bush asserted his power as unitary executive,” says Yeomans. “We need documents from Kavanaugh’s time as Staff Secretary to understand fully his role in President Bush’s efforts to expand executive authority through signing statements. The Senate needs to explore the extent to which those signing statements represent his views on the ability of the president to operate beyond the checks and balances imposed by Congress and the courts.”
Not only that, but “Kavanaugh occupied the position at a tumultuous time in the Bush administration,” a time when it made highly controversial policy on such issues as “torture, warrantless surveillance, detention at Guantanamo, civil rights enforcement, affirmative action, reproductive health care,” and other matters.
As long as Grassley and Republican leadership resist production of the full record, Kavanaugh’s role in and views of these issues will not be truly known — at least not until the critical matter of his confirmation is resolved, one way or the other.
Yeomans Work focuses on the challenges to the justice system in the era of Trump. Bill Yeomans is available for media interviews. Contact Laurie Kinney, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-464-7367.