Sen. Booker defies rule, releases confidential Kavanaugh emails

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., (left), next to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., questions President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, on the second day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., (left), next to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., questions President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, on the second day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

Updated: 12:30 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has made public an email from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Even if it puts him at risk of being expelled from the Senate, Booker’s decision to violate a committee rule and release an email from Kavanaugh brings to light the subject of racial profiling. The Judiciary Committee was holding that email on a confidential basis.

Calling it an act of civil disobedience, Booker said he wanted to expose that some of the emails being held back “have nothing to do with national security.”

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas called Booker’s action “irresponsible and conduct unbecoming a senator.”

He read a rule contemplating expulsion of senators for violating Senate confidentiality rules. Several Democrats said in response, “bring it on.”

Last month, Booker joined Senate Democrats in advocating for the full public release of the 141,000 documents related to Judge Kavanaugh’s record that had been marked Committee Confidential, according to a statement released by Booker’s office.

“As I’ve been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham,” Senator Booker said. “The fact that tens of thousands of documents revealing a Supreme Court nominee’s views on key issues were deemed Committee Confidential and not available to the public reflects the absurdity of this process.”

The documents contain several emails regarding Kavanaugh’s views on racial profiling and affirmative action.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are urging senators to reject the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.

Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, the group’s chairman, says Kavanaugh would weaken protections under the Voting Rights Act. He cited his ruling in a South Carolina case upholding the state’s new voter ID law.

Kavanaugh’s defenders say his ruling resolved the case, as the Justice Department under President Barack Obama chose not to appeal.

House members don’t get to vote on Kavanaugh, but Richmond plans to testify about Kavanaugh as an outside witness on Friday, the final day of confirmation hearings.


The emails can be viewed below.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.