Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) just released on Thursday a thread of emails tied to discussions Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had on racial inequality. These emails were from the time Kavanaugh served as a White House counsel during the Bush administration.
Booker released approximately 12 pages of emails including one thread that was titled “racial profiling.” The documents are marked “committee confidential,” which means they are not supposed to be discussed or released publicly.
Booker, disregarding the legality of the release made his move after a heated debate on Kavanaugh’s third day before the Judiciary Committee.
“I am right now, before your process is finished, I am going to release the email about racial profiling, and I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate,” Booker said at the hearing.
Booker acknowledged that he would be “knowingly violating the rules.”
Booker questioned Kavanaugh at the hearing on Wednesday night about his stances on racial inequality. He referred to emails from his time as a White House counsel for President George W. Bush. But, Republicans later pointed out, one of the emails he was referring to was labeled as “committee confidential.”
Kavanaugh questioned Department of Transportation (DOT) affirmative action regulations in one of the emails.
“The fundamental problem in this case is that these DOT regulations use a lot of legalisms and disguises to mask what in reality is a naked racial set-aside,” Kavanaugh writes in one of the emails from 2001.
He adds that he believes four Republican justices will “realize as much in short order and rule accordingly.”
Just after Booker released the documents, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) staff released a massive amount of new emails that were previously marked “committee confidential.” They had been cleared for public release.
Booker’s announcement immediately caused a war of words between Judiciary Committee members, with both sides accusing the other of bad behavior.
Democrats on the committee argued that the process wasn’t fair.
“I have not made a big fight about this … but again, lest silence imply consent, I think that rule is as ineffectual as if the chair had unilaterally repealed the law of gravity,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said. “It simply isn’t so. I haven’t agreed to this rule. I haven’t voted on this rule.”
Other Democrats quickly backed up Booker, warning that they too could release “committee confidential” documents.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said she too has a document that’s been deemed “committee confidential” that she’s going to release to the press.
“I would defy anyone reading this document to conclude this document should be deemed confidential in any way shape or form,” she said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added that there was “no basis for the rules” and Democrats are “here under protest.”
“I hereby reserve the right to release documents before any confirmation vote, so that my colleagues can see what the truth is. Between now and any vote on confirmation there is the right to release documents that she or he believe are appropriate,” Blumenthal said.