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Groups Are Demanding That Congress Fully Investigate Brett Kavanaugh's Record on Abortion

Previously withheld records could call Kavanaugh’s integrity and impartiality into question.

by Leila Ettachfini
Aug 29 2019, 9:52pm

The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Imagess

Next month marks one year since an upset, though collected, Christine Blasey Ford recalled one of the most horrible nights of her life before the world—and one year since Brett Kavanaugh, angry and pursed, denied every single one of her sexual assault accusations. Days later, he was sworn into a lifelong seat on the highest court in the nation. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of his appointment to the Supreme Court in October, activist groups including the Women’s March, Demand Justice, and the Center for Popular Democracy Action are organizing marches in Washington D.C. and New York City that they hope will finally compel Congress to fully investigate Kavanaugh’s record. Rewire News first reported on the march.

Though these activists are not satisfied with the conclusion of the public hearing on the sexual assault allegations against Kavanugh, it’s not only his alleged sexual misconduct that they want Congress to investigate. From 2003 until 2006, Brett Kavanugh served as the White House staff secretary under George W. Bush. The Trump White House withheld records about this work from the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, citing executive privilege, angering some Democrats. Earlier this month, House Democrats formally requested those records from the National Archive and Records Administration.

The three groups believe these records could call Kavanaugh’s integrity and impartiality into question.

“Because there were millions of pages of documents from his time in the George W. Bush White House that Senate Republicans hid, when the House Judiciary Committee gains access to these records, they must investigate Kavanaugh for express bias on any issue that might reasonably lead to calls for recusal, and they also must examine whether he lied to the Senate,” said Christopher Kang, Chief Counsel of Demand Justice.

Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, tweeted that these documents “could prove [Kavanaugh] lied under oath.”

Kavanaugh’s appointment was largely considered a strategic move by the Trump Administration to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade—Trump promised to only select Justices who would do so—so some activists are particularly concerned with finding out whether Kavanaugh was involved in the Bush administration’s 2003 decision to ban dilation and evacuation methods of abortion, which anti-abortion groups dubiously call "partial-birth abortion.” As Katie O’Connor, senior counsel at Demand Justice, told Rewire: "We have no idea what he worked on while he was there. We have no idea whether he was part of the administration’s decision to sign that [abortion] bill." If so, they believe they could have grounds to ask the Justice to recuse himself from abortion-related cases.

The organization is also asking Congress to investigate the process used to obtain and review Kavanaugh’s records.

Still, Demand Justice, which says the Court is “wholly unaccountable,” does not have high hopes that the Justice will acknowledge any implicit bias if matters are left to Kavanaugh or the Court itself. This is why they're hoping to pressure Congress to act.

“We recognize that House Democrats have had a lot on their plate so far this year, but there also may have been an element of deferring to the outrageous myth that our Supreme Court is apolitical and therefore Justices shouldn’t be investigated once they ascend to the bench,” Kang said. “Because there is no code of ethics for Supreme Court justices, Congress is the only place where the dozens of ethics complaints against Kavanaugh can be investigated.”

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abortion
Brett Kavanaugh