Mon – 8/20: Your Monday Kavanaugh-t – Follow the paper trail…

A right-wing extremist minority is within one SCOTUS seat of erasing the progressive gains of the last 50 years.

Senator Feinstein’s staff met with Indivisible East Bay recently and told them that they aren’t hearing from us, her constituents, opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination. Fewer than 33,000 people have called her office opposing the Kavanaugh nomination, in comparison to the hundred thousand contacts opposing Neil Gorsuch by the time of his 2017 Judiciary Committee vote. This is strange because polls indicate only 37% think the Senate should vote to confirm Kavanaugh, making him “the least popular SCOTUS pick in decades”.

But our legislators are Blue! They already know what we want! WHY DO I HAVE TO CALL?!?

Our members of Congress (MoCs) staff tally numbers of contacts per zip code per issue every day and give those numbers to the Senator. They use those numbers to justify actions they take and how strongly they push. And if we don’t call, you can bet they’re still hearing from the other side, like NRA members and forced-birthers. Emails are fine, too. Get your phones set up for fast calling, and try the less popular offices like Fresno and San Diego, first. If the lines are busy, set a timer for a half-hour and call back.

Every day, we will present a new aspect of what we’re fighting for.

Action #1 –  We want transparency. Cough up the paperwork.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), head of the Judiciary Committee, is playing a mean-spirited partisan game against Democrats over documents tied to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. His resume includes working for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and helping to write the report that called for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He also served as counsel and staff secretary to President George W. Bush, who in 2003 later nominated him to the D.C. Circuit. His nomination was blocked for nearly 3 years due to concerns about his partisan political past and  he was evasive during his 2006 confirmation hearing. Although he was eventually confirmed in 2006, the GOP’s reticence to produce his paperwork is concerning, especially those that could clarify his role in some of the Bush administration’s most controversial actions, including its warrantless wiretapping program and its torture policy.

What is so disqualifying in his record from the White House that they would accede to the administration’s wishes and ignore the precedent Republicans set in demanding exhaustive document productions by Obama nominees?” – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) Senate Judiciary Committee

…”the majority’s opposition to transparency is as new as it is dangerous.” – Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Senate Judiciary Committee

Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Sen. [___]  for insisting that his complete paperwork history be released with adequate time for review.

(Both CA senators are on the Judiciary Committee. Find out if yours is a member here.)

Contact your Legislator
Senator Feinstein: email DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Contacts: https://hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com

Action #2 –  Start thinking about your signs!

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/215280449323095/

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Background dive – Why documents matter…

It’s hard to get all excited about “documents”, especially with everything else going on, but it’s been a fairly successful strategy.

Recent victories:

  • Ryan W. Bounds’ nomination for the Ninth Circuit was withdrawn in July, 2018 due to racist writings from his undergrad days at Stanford University’s newspaper.
  • Brett Talley – an “unqualified” rating wasn’t enough to stop the GOP member of the Judiciary Committee from voting for him, but his blog posts under a pseudonym supporting the early Ku Klux Klan, were enough to keep him from progressing further.
  • Jeffrey Mateer who stated that same-sex marriage was “disgusting” and “it just shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that is going on” in reference to a transgender student.

Historical victories – revealed paperwork:

  • 1971 – Renquist: during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee William Rehnquist, who joined the Court in 1972 and served as Chief Justice from 1986-2005, the Senate asked Rehnquist about a memo he wrote as a Supreme Court law clerk. In the memo, Rehnquist said the court’s 1896 ruling upholding racial segregation “was right and should be reaffirmed” – he said nope, that was just the opinion of Justice Robert Jackson, for whom he was clerking. The Senate, because those were gentler times, accepted the excuse; most historians don’t. Things might have been very different if the Democratic-controlled Senate had rejected Rehnquist and another judge had gone on to be approved.
  • 1971 –  The Pentagon Papers: The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers, a previously secret official Department of Defense history of the USA’s involvement in Vietnam. Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the papers, released them (without permission). The papers showed that the US carried out actions during the Vietnam War that the Johnson Administration kept secret even from Congress; that the administration had consistently lied about the war; that mainstream media reports about the war were untrue; and that the public was deliberately kept completely in the dark.
  • 1974 – Watergate: 34 years ago this week, on July 30, 1974, after President Nixon had resisted a prolonged attempt to require him to release information about the Watergate affair and other material, he finally complied with the Supreme Court’s decree and released subpoenaed recordings of White House meetings to the special prosecutor. The contents of those recordings, transcripts of which were made public, contributed to his resignation on August 9.
  • 1987 – Iran Contra: During the Reagan administration, the Tower Commission investigated the so-called Iran-Contra affair. They retrieved backup copies of files from a National Security Council computer mainframe, after NSC staff deleted the original files. Using these files and other documents, the Commission proved that the US government had broken numerous laws by secretly selling weapons to Iran (and also to Iraq) during the Iran-Iraq war.
  • 2017 – Family separation records: A letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and DHS Acting Inspector General John Kelly signed by six Senators, including Kamala Harris, says “We write today deeply alarmed by reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been improperly – and perhaps unlawfully – destroying records of families that it separated at the border. … According to two officials at DHS, records linking children to their parents are mysteriously disappearing or being intentionally destroyed.”

And losses – hidden documents.

Reading

Democrats know they need to talk about how Kavanaugh would rule. (wapo)

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