Todd Ruger

Grassley Threatens Monday Kavanaugh Vote if Ford Does Not Testify
As negotiations over testimony continue, panel officially postpones hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed its hearing, set for Monday, that would have featured Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of sexually attacking her decades ago. And in a sign that Senate Republicans are playing hardball to get Ford to agree to their terms to testify, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination in the event there is no deal with Ford. 

The notice included no reschedule date and came out amid reports that the panel and Ford’s attorneys did not meet a panel-set 5 p.m. deadline to agree to terms.

Judiciary Staffer’s Tweets Fuel Fight Over Kavanaugh Accuser
‘Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh,’ committee’s chief staffer says.

Amid a pitched partisan battle over how the Senate handles an allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman decades ago as a teenager, liberal groups on Thursday seized on comments from a Judiciary Committee staffer to paint the process as a sham.

Mike Davis, the committee’s chief staffer for nominations, tweeted twice overnight about his key role in the committee’s review of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation, as well as criticism of Ford’s attorneys and his desired outcome of the process.

High Court, High Political Drama — Probably for Years to Come
Political Theater, Episode 37

In the middle of a singularly rough Supreme Court nomination fight, the business of the high court goes on. The fate of Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s second nominee to the court, is still up in the air. But the  direction of the court, regardless of what happens with Kavanaugh, seems to be moving inexorably negative, at least politically, say CQ legal affairs writer Todd Ruger and senior writer Kate Ackley in the latest Political Theater podcast.

 

Kavanaugh Is Already Reshaping the Supreme Court
As Trump’s pick defends himself, justices will meet behind closed doors

On the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee plans a televised hearing on a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the eight current members of the high court will meet behind closed doors to discuss which new cases to hear.

The confluence of those events set for Monday underscores how the high-profile political fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination will also color the public perception of the Supreme Court, and could prompt the justices to steer clear of more controversial cases in the coming term that starts in October.

Kavanaugh, Ford Will Appear Before Judiciary Committee in Public
Supreme Court nominee, woman who accused him of sexual assault will be heard out

The Senate Judiciary Committee will have a public hearing Monday, Sept. 24, on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, a former Judiciary Committee chairman, confirmed the scheduling update to reporters on Monday evening. The news broke after senators had arrived back at the Capitol Monday afternoon and after a meeting of Judiciary Committee Republicans in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office about how to proceed in light of allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford.

Senate Scrambles for Next Move With Kavanaugh Nomination in the Balance
Growing number of senators say accuser, judge should be able to have say

The most important of those voices was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who said Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor, deserves to be heard after coming forward publicly with the allegation over the weekend.

“So I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner,” Grassley said in a news release.

Republicans Face Critical Moment With Kavanaugh
Allegation against Supreme Court nominee heaps cultural importance on what senators do

ANALYSIS: President Donald Trump’s pick for a pivotal spot on the Supreme Court already put the Senate at the confluence of the nation’s contentious political and legal movements.  But a woman’s allegation of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh  — dating back decades to when he was a teenager — heaps cultural importance as well on what senators do at this moment.

Senators, particularly Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans who have relentlessly insisted on a confirmation vote this month, now have to decide what to do amid a “Me Too” movement that has exposed how these types of allegations have been hidden, mishandled or simply ignored by powerful men in the past. 

Senators Seek Allegation Details Before Kavanaugh Vote
Arizona Republican Jeff Flake joins Democrats’ calls to delay committee vote

Updated 11:51 p.m. | Republican Sen. Jeff Flakejoined calls from Democrats on Sunday to hit pause on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to get more information from a woman who went public with details of an alleged sexual attack by Kavanaugh decades ago when they were both in high school.

The comments by the Arizona lawmaker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are the first sign of trouble for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s push for a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh this month.

Manafort Memos Reveal Influence Campaign
Former Trump campaign manager to cooperate with Mueller investigation

In 2012, Paul Manafort thought he had done what he needed to defeat a Senate resolution to condemn the prosecution of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and call for her release.

But the international political operator couldn’t outmaneuver veteran lawmaker Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., according to a document filed by federal prosecutors Friday in a criminal indictment of Manafort.

Kavanaugh Vote Will Go On for Now, Grassley Says
Letter from Feinstein to federal authorities raises alarms

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley does not plan to change a Sept. 20 vote on Brett Kavanaugh because of a mysterious letter about the Supreme Court nominee’s past that was referred to “federal investigative authorities,” a committee spokesman said Thursday.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the panel’s top Democrat, revealed in a cryptic news release Thursday that she had information about Kavanaugh but was keeping it confidential at the request of the individual who provided the information.

Kavanaugh Set to Advance Amid Democratic Objections
Supreme Court nominee mostly evasive in follow-up answers to Judiciary panel

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to hold a committee vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh at a specific time, 1:45 p.m., on Sept. 20. The vote was 11-10 along party lines over the objections of committee Democrats who said it would prematurely cut off debate.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee still had a lot of questions for Kavanaugh after last week’s confirmation hearing — they asked more than 1,200 written follow-up queries. But the nominee didn’t provide many revealing answers late Wednesday when he turned in 263 pages of responses in which he tried to provide more thoughts on one of the more dramatic moments of his confirmation hearing, brush aside questions about his finances, and clean up answers about abortion, his independence from political pressure and other topics.

Civil Rights Commission Calls for Action on Voting Rights Fix
State actions since 2013 have hurt minority voting rights, new report says

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged Congress on Wednesday to update the landmark law that protects voter rights, finding in a new report that a 2013 Supreme Court decision helped lead to elections with voting measures in place that discriminate against minorities.

But opposition from Republican lawmakers has stalled legislation to change the Voting Rights Act of 1965 since the 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder that struck down a key enforcement mechanism in the law. Current efforts appear stuck for the same reason.

Democrats Ramp Up Attacks on Kavanaugh’s Honesty After Hearings
Leahy says high court nominee gave “untruthful testimony, under oath and on the record”

Senate Democrats have added a new line of attack against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, accusing the longtime appeals court judge of misleading or even lying under oath during his confirmation hearing last week.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer highlighted Kavanaugh’s answers about his work more than a decade ago, as White House counsel during the George W. Bush administration.

Kavanaugh Witnesses Frame Upcoming Confirmation Debate
As Senate starts home stretch toward confirmation vote, divergent portrait painted

As the Senate continues its processing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it does so in the shadow of the last day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing, with strikingly different depictions of the appeals court judge on display.

Democrats brought a series of emotional witnesses to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday to sound more warnings about what Kavanaugh would mean for the country’s legal landscape, while witnesses invited by Republicans gave straightforward descriptions of an appeals court judge with the credentials to join the high court.

It’s Kavanaugh Week on the Hill. Here’s What to Expect
Labor Day weekend screeches to a halt with confirmation hearing for Trump’s Supreme Court pick

Brett Kavanaugh starts his confirmation hearing Tuesday with a clear political path to the Supreme Court, if he can avoid a major misstep when Democrats press him on controversial topics like abortion rights, health care and the criminal investigations swirling around President Donald Trump.

The grilling won’t change minds on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which appears on track to approve Kavanaugh with an 11-10 party-line vote. Instead, Democrats will aim to sway a handful of centrist senators who aren’t on the committee but could cast key confirmation votes on the Senate floor — as well as residents in their states.

Battle Lines for the Supreme Court
CQ on Congress, Episode 117

Democrats are pushing for a delay in upcoming confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, arguing that Kavanaugh could ultimately sit in judgment of the president if Trump's legal problems reach the court. CQ legal affairs writer Todd Ruger says Republicans are likely to ignore their calls. ...
Whitehouse: Senate Probe of Trump Has Failed to Ask 3 Questions
Judiciary should demand more, Rhode Island Democrat says

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse sharply criticized congressional oversight of the Trump administration on Thursday, calling the Senate Judiciary Committee’s probe less than thorough and questioning whether House members may have engaged in obstruction of justice.

“We have not done nothing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I appreciate that,” the Rhode Island Democrat said in a measured tone during a committee meeting. “But we are a long way from the Senate Judiciary Committee having real answers on important questions that go to the heart of our committee’s oversight responsibilities.”

Senate Democrats ‘Ready to Sue’ for Kavanaugh Records
Schumer threatens lawsuit against the National Archives

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Democrats threatened Thursday to file a lawsuit to get access to documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House.

Schumer told reporters that Judiciary Committee Democrats “stand ready to sue” the National Archives and Records Administration if they don’t quickly fill requests from committee Democrats for records under the Freedom of Information Act. The confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh is set for Sept. 4, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants a floor vote before Oct. 1.

Kavanaugh Makes Strategic Stops on His Senate Tour as Chamber Returns
Heitkamp, Donnelly and other swing votes are on his schedule

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will ramp up his behind-the-scenes preparation over the next three weeks for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, starting with more one-on-one meetings Wednesday with senators whose votes could prove pivotal.

Kavanaugh, who is more used to asking questions from the dais as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 12 years, has been going through mock hearings that last several hours with questions from people assigned to the role of different senators, a White House official said.