WASHINGTON - Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh opened today, with Democrats pointing out that 96 percent of the nominee’s White House records remain hidden from the public and 93 percent haven’t been shared with the Senate.
“What is being hidden,” asked Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. “And why?”
Ana Unruh Cohen, managing director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council made the following statement:
“We might only imagine why, but an important part of what is being hidden is Kavanaugh’s role in one of the worst White House assaults in history on commonsense environmental safeguards. The public has the right to know whether Kavanaugh stood up to those attacks or encouraged them.
“We stand with those calling for a suspension of confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh until his White House records are made available to the public and the Senate has had the opportunity to review them.
“Kavanaugh spent the first five and a half years of the George W. Bush administration working in the White House - beginning in the counsel’s office and, later, as staff secretary, responsible for vetting documents before they reached the president. His emails, memos and other correspondence while working as a public servant should be made public. That’s the only way the Senate, and the American people, may assess the policy views he may have expressed at the highest level of our government.
“When it comes to environmental protections, that’s important.
“In one year alone - 2004 - the Bush administration took more than 150 actions to weaken the commonsense safeguards we all depend on to protect safe water, clean air, healthy wildlife and habitat and our publicly owned lands, ocean waters and coasts. The actions meant more toxic chemicals like mercury in our air and water; more industrial damage to pristine national forests; more pollution in our wetlands and streams; and less protection for the critical habitat depended upon by species at the brink of extinction.
“The 12 years Kavanaugh spent as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit give cause for real concern. On the bench, Kavanaugh wrote opinions that consistently put the interests of corporate polluters before the public interest.
“If adopted by the Supreme Court, his opinions could make it difficult, if not impossible, for citizens and public interest groups to use our laws and courts to hold polluters to account; make it harder for federal agencies to protect the environment and public health and make it easier for industry to get away with violating environmental laws. The Senate needs to know, and so do the American people, whether those propensities helped shape White House policy on Kavanaugh’s watch.”
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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.