One of the major debates in the Kavanaugh hearings was about documents that had been deemed committee confidential. That meant these documents could only be viewed and discussed in closed door meetings of the Judiciary Committee. 200,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s documents from his time in the White House were withheld from the public. another 100,000 documents were withheld from the Committee altogether at the request of the current White House, on the grounds of executive privilege.
The Democrats argued that certain of these committee confidential documents had critical information that the public needed to know about Judge Kavanuagh. Democrats felt their hands were tied, because they couldn’t ask Kavanaugh about these documents or reference them in their speeches.
On the Republican side, they argued that 500,000 documents had already been released, and the documents that had been declared committee confidential had sensitive information that should not be shared with the public, like social security numbers.
On September 6th, the Democrats spoke against this practice. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) even released 12 pages of emails about Kavanaugh’s thoughts about racial inequality, under the threat of expulsion from the Senate.
Of course, it takes two-thirds of the Senate to expel a member, so it was unlikely that Senator Booker would actually be expelled. But it was still a courageous move. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) leaked documents as well.
As courageous and maverick as Senator Booker and Senator Hirono’s decisions were, it didn’t give the public much new information. The leaked emails cast doubt on whether or not Judge Kavanaugh thought Roe v. Wade was settled law and illuminated some inconsistencies between his testimony about past events and what actually happened.
Senator Booker has continued to release documents as the Senate Judiciary Committee draws closer to the vote approving Judge Kavanaugh and advancing his nomination. Senator Booker hopes to pressure the Republicans into pushing back the committee vote. Pushing back the committee vote will delay the vote of the full Senate, which could delay the confirmation of Kavanuagh. Democrats hope to delay the nomination until after the midterms (or after the new Senators are sworn in) and they hope the Democrats will regain control of the Senate.
It’s a lot of hope to pin on 200,000 documents.