House Democrats seek Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh's records

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, including the panel’s chairman, asked the National Archives on Tuesday for records from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s service in the White House under former President George W. Bush.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh is seen during a group portrait session for the new full court at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young

In a letter to the National Archives and Records Administration, Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Representative Hank Johnson said they were seeking records from 2001 to 2006 that include documents unavailable during Kavanaugh’s 2018 Senate confirmation, which was dominated by allegations of sexual misconduct.

The lawmakers said the committee is considering legislative proposals to create a “code of conduct for Supreme Court justices” involving the transparency of court proceedings, the adequacy of justices’ financial disclosures and circumstances in which justices or judges must disqualify themselves from cases.

“The court’s fidelity to the principles of equal and impartial justice, as well as the public’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary, are foundational to maintaining the rule of law,” they wrote.

Officials at the Supreme Court were not immediately available for comment. The National Archives had no immediate comment.

The Republican-led Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh to the high court last year after hearings dominated by accusations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in 1982. Kavanaugh, who had served on the special counsel team that investigated Democratic President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, forcefully denied the allegations.

Nadler and Johnson said the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate after reviewing only a fraction of his White House records. Kavanaugh was nominated to the high court by President Donald Trump.

Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on Nadler’s committee, in a statement denounced the records request as “harassment” and accused Democrats of pursuing a “smear” campaign against a sitting Supreme Court justice.

In their letter, Nadler and Johnson said they wanted records from Kavanaugh’s service in the White House counsel’s office from 2001 to 2003 and as White House staff secretary from 2003 to 2006. The list includes Kavanaugh’s emails and office file textual records from his stint as staff secretary.

Johnson chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, which held a hearing in June on promoting ethics, accountability and transparency in the federal courts.

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Dan Grebler