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Merkley files emergency motion in Kavanaugh lawsuit


With Senate leadership determined to “ram through” Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination this week, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said Wednesday he has taken the emergency measure of filing for immediate relief in his separation of powers lawsuit.

The motion asks the court to compel President Trump to produce Kavanaugh’s full record before the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Trump has withheld over 100,000 documents from Kavanaugh’s record through so-called “presidential privilege,” with no explanation or review to justify withholding the documents.

Merkley’s filing follows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration on Monday that “we will be voting this week” on the Kavanaugh nomination.

“The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to review Kavanaugh’s record, but the Senate can’t fulfill that duty if President Trump, in this unprecedented move, withholds hundreds of thousands of documents,” said Merkley. “The Senate needs to see Brett Kavanaugh’s full record before the Senate can vote.”

Last week, Merkley filed Merkley v. Trump in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit alleges that the White House and its allies in the Senate have violated the separation of powers by conspiring to withhold a vast amount of Kavanaugh’s record from Senators as the Senate attempts to fulfill its constitutional duty of “advice and consent.”

Merkley’s suit was assigned to Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Further details about the lawsuit are available here, and a copy of the full original filing is available here. A copy of today’s filing asking for emergency relief is available here.

Civil rights firm Mehri & Skalet is serving as co-counsel with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

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