Sunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight
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Democrats are seizing on the failed nomination of Ryan Bounds, President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE’s unsuccessful circuit court pick, as they look for leverage in a fight over confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrats say Bounds’s nomination, which was foiled by questions about controversial, decades-old writings, bolsters their demand for documents tied to Kavanaugh's time in the Bush White House and as a political operative.

“If Republicans agreed that Bounds is not qualified because of what he wrote in college, how could they possibly argue that material from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the White House and as a political operative aren’t relevant?” Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinAmerican Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review Juan Williams: Trump, the Great Destroyer Top Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo MORE (D-Calif.) asked after a vote on Bounds’s nomination was cancelled.

She added in a tweet on Friday that Democrats are “asking to review all of the records from Kavanaugh’s career to fulfill the Senate’s ‘advice and consent’ responsibility. Reviewing the entirety of a nominee’s record is what the Judiciary Committee has always done.”

The White House faced a setback on a judicial pick this week when it was forced to withdraw Bounds’s nomination to serve on the Ninth Circuit after it became clear he didn’t have the support to pass the Senate. GOP Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths Bipartisan group of senators ask Trump to increase focus on maternal deaths 7 law enforcement officers shot in South Carolina MORE (S.C.) told leadership he couldn’t support Bounds and needed more information on his nomination.


GOP senators and sources told The Hill that Scott’s decision was linked to decades-old controversial writings where Bounds voiced skepticism about race-focused groups and questioned the need for diversity training.  

Democratic Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyEPA chief calls racist Facebook post he liked ‘absolutely offensive’ Dem senators urge Pompeo to reverse visa policy on diplomats' same-sex partners Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (Ore.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Facebook deletes accounts for political 'spam' | Leaked research shows Google's struggles with online free speech | Trump's praise for North Korea complicates cyber deterrence | Senators want Google memo on privacy bug On The Money: Jobless rate hits 49-year low | Officials face legal obstacles to pursuing tax charges against Trump | Tax story prompts calls to revise estate rules MORE (Ore.) accused Bounds of hiding the writings from their selection committee that reviewed potential picks for the Oregon-based 9th Circuit seat.

Democrats pointed to the decades-old writings as a prime example of why they need documents in advance of a hearing from before Kavanaugh’s time as a judge.

“Republicans just sunk the Bounds nomination based on his college writings. After that, how are they going to argue that Judge Kavanaugh’s White House papers aren’t relevant to his nomination to the Supreme Court?” asked Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFive takeaways from the final Tennessee Senate debate Schumer rips Trump 'Medicare for all' op-ed as 'smears and sabotage' GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.).

He added that if a “lower court nominee’s college writings are relevant but a Supreme Court nominee’s White House writings aren’t? I don’t think so.”

Feinstein and Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyDems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, are currently locked in negotiations about the scope of the documents tied to Kavanaugh that should be turned over as the Senate debates his Supreme Court nomination.

In addition to serving as a circuit judge for more than a decade, Kavanaugh worked in the George W. Bush White House, and worked on the Ken Starr investigation into then-President Clinton including helping draft the report that outlined the case for impeachment.

The New York Times reported before Kavanaugh was the nominee that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJuan Williams: Trump’s policies on race are more important than his rhetoric It’s Mitch McConnell’s Washington – and we’re just living in it Trump makes new overtures to Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) told the White House that his long paper trail could complicate his path to confirmation. 

Democrats argue that Kavanaugh's Clinton- and Bush-era work is relevant to the Senate’s consideration of Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, particularly any writing on executive authority and Bush-era interrogation and surveillance programs.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned President Trump that Kavanaugh’s paper trail would pose a problem, which is exactly why the people deserve to see every single responsive document and email before the Senate considers his nomination,” said Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added that Bounds’s defeat is “a sign of inadequate vetting and excessive haste.”

“It should stand as a rebuke to my Republican colleagues who are seeking to severely constrict review of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  Restricting documents and time is a great mistake for lifetime judicial appointments,” he said in a statement.

But Republican senators have, so far, balked at the broad demand for documents. Grassley warned this week that he would not let the vetting turn into a “government-funded fishing expedition.”

We will “have the opportunity to look at relevant and proportional emails and other records from Judge Kavanaugh’s service in the White House. The committee will use sophisticated technology to conduct a thorough review,” Grassley added, while saying he expects Democrats to use document demands to “obstruct and delay.”