“ADVICE AND CONSENT”

by Sharon Rondeau

(Sep. 4, 2018) — The Senate Judiciary Committee is commencing hearings Tuesday morning on the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, announced by President Donald Trump on July 9.

Trump’s choice for the seat vacated by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is a former George W. Bush administration counsel and 12-year Justice of the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley will open the hearings at 9:30 AM EDT, a detail omitted from most mainstream news reports.  For those attending in person, the location is the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216.

During virtually all of the month of August, the committee, as with the rest of the Senate, remained in Washington at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s direction, when it confirmed dozens of new judges to federal courts to little news coverage.

While Kavanaugh has earned a “well-qualified” designation from the American Bar Association (ABA) — the organization’s highest rating — congressional Democrats have claimed that documents withheld by the Justice Department on Kavanaugh’s previous government service should be made available to them.

On Monday night, the National Archives released an additional 42,000 pages of documentation from Kavanaugh’s service in the Bush White House.

Grassley has argued that more documentation has been released on Kavanaugh, who is Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, than on any other nominee from any other administration in history.

Article II, Section 2, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution assigns to the US Senate the task of vetting executive-branch nominees, including “Judges of the supreme Court” in order to give “advice and consent.”

Proposed “treaties” require a two-thirds approval from the Senate, while ambassadors and judicial nominations require a simple majority.

At present, Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in Congress’s upper chamber. Democrats hope to gain the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in November’s midterm elections.

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