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Lambda Legal files FOIA for Kavanaugh documents to discover LGBTQ record
2018-08-13

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Over the weekend, Lambda Legal filed Freedom of Information Act ( FOIA ) requests for documents and communications related to Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, regarding his time serving as the White House Staff Secretary from 2003 to 2006. This request follows Senator Grassley's announcement that he is moving ahead with Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, set to begin on September 4th. Kavanaugh has referred to his tenure as White House Staff Secretary as "the most instructive" years in his professional development. However, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley ( R-IA ) and Senate Republicans have refused to request documents covering that period from the National Archives, blocking access to this critical information and keeping the American people in the dark about Kavanaugh's history.

In the eight separate requests, Lambda Legal has asked various federal agencies and departments, including the Department of Justice, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Health and Human Services, and Office of Special Counsel, to produce all records related to Kavanaugh's involvement policies that discriminated against LGBTQ children, families and relationships. If any of the agencies refuse to comply with the FOIA requests, Lambda Legal is prepared to seek court intervention to ensure that the information contained in these documents can inform the discussion and enhance the public's understanding of this nominee's troubling history, particularly as it relates to the LGBTQ community.

"The American people deserve to know the whole truth about Judge Kavanaugh's record on LGBTQ rights and other important civil rights issues," said Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer at Lambda Legal. "The George W. Bush White House was one of the most homophobic administrations in recent history, and Brett Kavanaugh was at the center of the action. The American people need to know what's hiding in Kavanaugh's records, including the role he played in pushing an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment to deny same-sex couples access to the protections of marriage; his involvement in secret efforts to use taxpayer dollars to fund anti-LGBT media commentators; his role in helping Scott Bloch, the disgraced former head of the Office of Special Counsel, persecute LGBT federal workers; and his involvement in White House efforts to block passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, among other discriminatory policies. There's already proof that Kavanaugh misled the American people during his first confirmation, and with so much at stake for LGBTQ rights, the American people deserve to see the full universe of documents and communications related to his record."

This filing follows a separate, but related, FOIA request from Senator Richard Blumenthal ( D-CT ), joined by every Democratic member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, to compel the release of Judge Kavanaugh's documents and access vital information about the Supreme Court nominee's professional background.

McGowan continued, "Affordable healthcare, access to safe abortion, and LGBTQ equality are all in jeopardy with the appointment of the next Supreme Court justice. Our country cannot afford another 40 years of Donald Trump's values on the Supreme Court. The American people deserve to know the whole truth about Brett Kavanaugh's record. Moving forward with the Kavanaugh nomination before his full record has been disclosed will call into question the legitimacy of these confirmation proceedings, and could cast a dark shadow of illegitimacy over the Court for years to come. This is a result that can and should be avoided by releasing the records, and allowing for full review of Kavanaugh's record before any hearings are conducted. We add our voice to the chorus of those calling on Chairman Grassley to reconsider his plans to push ahead with hearings after Labor Day, and restore some sense of rationality to this process."

The full text of each request can be found here:

1. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/doj_lawrence_v_texas.pdf .

2. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/doj_marriage_amendment.pdf .

3. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/doj_shepard.pdf .

4. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/hhs_request.pdf .

5. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/omb_-_marriage_amendment.pdf .

6. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/omb_office_of_special_counsel.pdf .

7. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/omb_shepard.pdf .

8. www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/osc_request.pdf .

— From a press release


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