Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings will start on Sept. 4 and last between three and four days, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced on Friday.
That scheduling tees up the GOP to meet its goal of getting President Donald Trump’s pick seated on the high court by the time its term begins in early October, barring unforeseen obstacles or a breakthrough by Democrats who are pushing to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
The Supreme Court battle so far has focused on documents related to Kavanaugh’s five years in the George W. Bush White House. Democrats have excoriated the GOP for declining to seek records from the nominee’s time as Bush’s staff secretary and condemned the Republican decision to rely on a Bush-driven review process for the early round of vetting, while the majority party hails the vast scope of documents that are set for release.
Grassley said earlier this month that he anticipates being able to complete Kavanaugh’s consideration by the Judiciary panel within about two weeks after the close of the confirmation hearings, which will feature questioning of the nominee beginning on Sept. 5. After the Judiciary panel clears Kavanaugh, Grassley added, the nomination is expected to reach the Senate floor within days.
“At this current pace, we have plenty of time to review the rest of emails and other records that we will receive from President Bush and the National Archives,” Grassley said in a Friday statement setting the hearing dates. “It’s time for the American people to hear directly from Judge Kavanaugh at his public hearing.”
White House spokesman Raj Shah sounded a similar note in a statement, saying that “Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to addressing the Judiciary Committee in public hearings for the American people to view.”
Democratic leaders and prominent liberals in the caucus are set to begin meeting with Kavanaugh after the Senate returns to session next week, ending a blockade designed to draw attention to the less-than-complete release of the nominee’s record. Multiple red-state Democratic senators up for reelection, however, have already set their dates to meet with Kavanaugh.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) decried the GOP’s reliance on a team of reviewers tapped by Bush, in whose White House Kavanaugh served, to screen records that could prove integral to the debate over his confirmation.
“Republican efforts to make this the least transparent, most secretive Supreme Court nomination in history continue,” Schumer said in a statement. “They seem to be more frightened of this nominee’s record and history than any we’ve ever considered.”