Common Cause Urges Senate to Withhold Consent on Lifetime Appointments to Supreme Court Until a Complete Record of All That’s at Stake is Public

Today, Common Cause urged the United States Senate to exercise its constitutional power to withhold its consent on any presidential nominee for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court until a complete record of what’s at stake is laid bare, including all of a nominee’s records relevant to the job, and until more is public concerning Department of Justice investigations involving the president and the electoral process.

The letter to senators emphasizes that the current situation is unprecedented in our nation’s history with an ongoing investigation into a hostile foreign power’s attacks aimed a swinging the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump and multiple members of the President’s inner circle under investigation or already convicted as a result of that investigation.

“These are uncharted waters and the risk of undermining public trust in the judiciary is very real right now at this juncture in our nation’s history. The record is incomplete and the Senate does not yet have enough information to provide informed consent” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “The Supreme Court could well end up deciding a variety of issues related to presidential power involving ongoing DOJ matters, including the Special Counsel’s investigation, that go to the heart of the electoral process. A cloud hangs over the very constitutional officer who is vested with the power to choose a person for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our judicial system and who may later sit in judgment of them.”

The letter says that “the Advice and Consent clause was intended by the Framers of the Constitution to be a serious and deliberative process, not one that is rushed, or timed to achieve maximum political leverage on key members of the Senate who are up for election in November, or logrolled through a vote of a simple majority of the Senate, as if there is little at stake.”

The letter also emphasizes that the Senate will have an incomplete record of the nominee’s (Judge Brett Kavanaugh) professional papers as it weighs his nomination. Hearings are currently scheduled two months before the National Archives and Records Administration estimates it can produce the limited records Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has requested. That request does not even include documents related to Kavanaugh’s work as staff secretary to President George W. Bush, a position the nominee called the “most useful” and “most instructive” to his role as a judge.

“The American people deserve to see the full record of any nominee to the Supreme Court because that appointment is for life and the votes cast by that Justice will impact every American for a generation or more,” said Flynn. “That standard cannot yet be satisfied. We are urging the Senate to use its brakes on the confirmation process of lifetime Supreme Court appointments and do what is right for the nation – and that is to wait until it knows all the facts.”

To read the full letter, click here.