As the U.S. Senate Tuesday started the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Lambda Legal and American Oversight filed a lawsuit to compel the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to immediately produce records related to Kavanaugh’s work in the George W. Bush White House.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenges the agencies’ failure to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in August that sought documents related to Kavanaugh’s involvement in Bush administration policies that discriminated against LGBTQ children, families and relationships.
“The American people and members of the United States Senate face an urgent question: is Brett Kavanaugh qualified for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court?” said Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer at Lambda Legal. “There is a black hole of critical information missing from Kavanaugh’s record. To move ahead with these confirmation hearings is irresponsible and will undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court for decades.
“The George W. Bush White House was one of the most homophobic administrations in recent history, and Brett Kavanaugh was at the center of the action” McGowan added. “The few records we have been allowed to see from his time in the White House show he was their ‘point person’ on faith-based initiatives and that he was directly involved in negotiating a deal with the Salvation Army that would have allowed them to discriminate against LGBTQ workers while still receiving hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Kavanaugh’s involvement in Bush-era scandals that were a threat to the LGBTQ community, including their push to ban same-sex marriage through a federal constitutional amendment, and their secret efforts to fund anti-LGBT propaganda. The public deserves to know what else is hiding in his record.”
Lambda Legal originally filed eight separate FOIA requests for documents and communications related to Kavanaugh’s time serving as the White House Staff Secretary from 2003 to 2006. Kavanaugh has referred to his tenure as White House Staff Secretary as “the most instructive” years in his professional development. However, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Republicans have refused to request documents covering that period from the National Archives, blocking access to this critical information and keeping the American people in the dark about Kavanaugh’s history.
“For a nominee whose track record remains largely hidden, the Senate is moving through Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process with unprecedented haste,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “The fraction of Kavanaugh’s records that have been released to the public came to light only as a result of aggressive litigation. Given that Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court could shape the lives of Americans for decades to come, the public has a right to know how he handled these issues in the Bush White House.”
The full text of the lawsuit and other documents related to the case can be found here.