Dem senator filing lawsuit to block Kavanaugh vote

 
Merkley argued the handling of Kavanaugh's nomination is "an assault on the separation of powers" and violates the Constitution. Merkley said his lawsuit will be filed later Wednesday in federal court in Washington, D.C., and would ask the court to block a vote until documents are handed over.
 
"The president and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE want to ram through this nomination come hell or high water, without real advice or informed consent by the Senate, but that's just not our Constitution works," Merkley said in a statement.
 
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Merkley, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, laid out three acts where he thought the White House had directly interfered with the Senate's "advice and consent" responsibly: blocking access to staff secretary documents, blocking access to some documents from Kavanaugh's work as a White House lawyer and labeling some documents given to the Senate Judiciary Committee "committee confidential."  
 
Merkley acknowledged that he did not know of a precedent where a court prevented a Senate vote, but he said he was also not aware of a time where he claims the White House had so "profoundly interfered" on a Supreme Court nominee's documents. 
 
"This is unchartered territory," he said. 
 
Merkley's lawsuit comes as Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to publicly accuse him of sexual assault, are scheduled to testify before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday
 
Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing and pledged that he will not withdraw his nomination, even as two other women have come forward to accuse him of misconduct stemming from his time in high school and college in the 1980s.
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee could vote on Kavanaugh's nomination as early as Friday, which would set up a full Senate vote early next week.