Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) released multiple classified documents via Scribd, announced on his website, Thursday morning related to his testimony Wednesday at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
According to Booker, the documents contain emails regarding “Judge Kavanaugh’s concerning views on racial profiling and affirmative action,” which he detailed in his Wednesday testimony.
According to multiple outlets, Senator Booker asked Judge Kavanaugh to further explain his views on these subjects, but Kavanaugh refused to answer.
“As I’ve been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham. The fact that tens of thousands of documents revealing a Supreme Court nominee’s views on key issues were deemed Committee Confidential and not available to the public reflects the absurdity of this process. The public has a right to access documents about a Supreme Court nominee’s views on issues that are profoundly important, such as race and the law. This process has demonstrated an unprecedented level of secrecy and opaqueness that undermines the Senate’s Constitutional duty to advice and consent.”
The specific documents include one from 2002, that refers to Kavanaugh, then an aide for President George W. Bush, entertaining the idea of using racial profiling as a means to combat terrorism in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks
When the question arose, Kavanaugh requested to see the email, which Booker responded to by asking him to instead answer the question. Booker was the reprimanded by other Senators for citing a confidential document that Kavanaugh was prevented from seeing, which caused Booker confusion as to the reason why.
— NARAL (@NARAL) September 6, 2018
Releasing the documents is a violation of the Senate rules, but Booker made clear that he was willing to break that rule and suffer the consequences of his actions.
“I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate… I openly invite and accept the consequences of my team releasing that email right now,” Booker said. “This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” he added at another point.
Booker was joined in releasing the statements by Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii.
The majority of the documents are from 2002 and focused on the issue of racial profiling, specifically at the time in regards to who should be singled out for searches at airports. Kavanaugh was a part of Bush’s team of lawyers that worked with the Justice Department to define the legality of such searches, particularly in the debate as to whether they should be race-neutral or race should play a factor.
In an email released with the documents, Kavanaugh favors “effective security measures that are race-neutral”, but measures on that topic must be dealt with before any comprehensive standards can come into effect.
These are the 4 documents marked committee confidential that I brought up in my questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last night –> https://t.co/2RZkY2FS9a
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 6, 2018
Several Republican Senators wrote off Booker’s comments as simply hubris from a politician trying to make a name for himself as a presidential candidate.
“Running for president is now excuse for violating the rules of the Senate,” commented Texas Senator John Cornyn, later saying, “No senator deserves to sit on this committee or serve in the Senate in my view if they decide to be a law until themselves.”