Key Takeaways From Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh's Controversial Emails

Here's what you need to know about the confidential documents that Democratic senators have released to the public.
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Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) listens as Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) questions Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on September 5th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) listens as Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) questions Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on September 5th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Three days into Supreme Court nominee Brettt Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, Democratic senators have released controversial emails from the judge's past, which may prove more revealing than his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Some of the documents from Kavanaugh's tenure under George W. Bush that were released to the committee as confidential have now been made public, NPR reports. Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) each shared separate email threads from Kavanaugh on Thursday, despite restrictions. Most of the documents were simultaneously approved for release, a Senate Judiciary Committee spokesperson told the Hill, potentially clearing the senators of violations.

Here are a few of the key takeaways:

  • Emails released by Booker address racial profiling and affirmative action, according to NPR. In one 2001 thread, Kavanaugh described the Department of Transportation's affirmative action regulations as a "naked racial set-aside," the Hill reports.
  • Emails leaked to the New York Times show that Kavanaugh expressed doubts about whether Roe v. Wade was "settled law" in 2003. "I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so," Kavanaugh wrote, according to the Times. This contradicts Kavanaugh's alleged statement to Senator Susan Collins in August, when he reportedly called Roe "settled law" worthy of respect.
  • In a 2002 email thread released by Hirono, Kavanaugh wrote that "any program targeting Native Hawaiians as a group is subject to strict scrutiny and of questionable validity under the Constitution." Hirono contends in a tweet that the emails reveal Kavanaugh "wrongly believes that Native Hawaiian programs are Constitutionally questionable."
  • Leahy released emails that he claims prove Kavanaugh perjured himself at appeals court hearings in 2004 and 2006. According to Slate, Kavanaugh testified that he didn't know anything about stolen documents related to Bush's judicial nominations, while the newly released emails suggest otherwise.

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