WASHINGTON — More than two dozen progressive groups sent a letter to Congress on Thursday urging an investigation into Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process and the numerous controversies around it, according to a copy obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The national furor over Kavanaugh's nomination to replace former justice Anthony Kennedy on the US Supreme Court, after he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, died down in the months since he was confirmed largely along party lines in October. But groups on the left have continued to seethe, and Thursday's letter shows they intend to press Democrats to use their new majority status in the House to reopen the issue.
The letter, which was sent to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, asks for inquiries into the allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh dating back to his high school years that were raised during the confirmation proceedings — allegations that Kavanaugh denied — and how the Senate and the White House responded to those claims.
Kavanaugh and one of the women who said he sexually assaulted her in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, presented dueling testimonies before the Senate in late September. Trump ordered the FBI to conduct a weeklong investigation. The FBI's report was sealed — Republicans said it cleared Kavanaugh, while Democrats argued that it was incomplete, noting that the FBI didn't interview key witnesses, including Ford and Kavanaugh.
"Senate Republicans made a mockery of their constitutional responsibility to provide 'advice and consent' on the president’s nomination of Justice Kavanaugh, and the American people deserve to know how and why the process was such a sham," the groups wrote in the letter to the House. "The public is just as entitled to a thorough review of Justice Kavanaugh’s record now as it was before he was elevated to the Supreme Court and to know whether allegations against him of sexual assault and perjury have any factual basis."
Thursday's letter also urges the House to seek access to records from Kavanaugh's tenure in the George W. Bush administration that Senate Republicans released through a contested vetting process run by an outside lawyer, William Burck, as opposed to the National Archives. The groups are also asking Congress to investigate personal financial debt that Kavanaugh had previously disclosed and that the White House said was due to the purchase of baseball tickets and home improvements.
The organizations that signed the letter include women's rights groups, environmental advocacy groups, Demand Justice — one of the groups that led the campaign against Kavanaugh's nomination — and Mason 4 Survivors, a group of students at George Mason University who are protesting the school's decision to hire Kavanaugh to teach at the university's Antonin Scalia Law School.
Kavanaugh, a former judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, faced dozens of judicial misconduct complaints during and after his confirmation process — some were related to the sexual assault allegations, some accused him of lying about his time in the Bush administration, and some claimed he showed partisan bias in his testimony before the Senate in September.
A panel of federal judges dismissed all of the complaints in December, concluding that Kavanaugh was no longer covered by the judiciary's misconduct process for lower court judges now that he's on the Supreme Court.