And opponents of Kavanaugh said they did not expect the problem to come to the forefront unless the woman agreed to cooperate. Members of both parties said that the situation was complicated by the fact that it would have taken place when all those involved were in high school. By contrast, the accusations against Justice Thomas concerned adult behavior during his time as a supervisor at federal agencies.
But Democrats certainly have problems that they want to investigate further about Judge Kavanaugh. On Thursday they tried to summon people and documents related to events from his White House years that they think he was not fair. The Republicans Commission blocked these efforts on the spot.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, tried to persuade the committee to seek a testimony from former Republican senate officials who were involved in an attempt to secure thousands of private-democratic documents between computers from judicial committees between 2001 and 2003 – another period of intense partisanership over judicial nominees.
Documents released by the committee showed that Judge Kavanaugh, when a lawyer in the White House involved in nomination cases, exchanged information with Manuel Miranda, an assistant to the Senate who had obtained and distributed part of the information.
Judge Kavanaugh told the panel that he had no idea that the information had been obtained inappropriately – a claim that Senate Democrats answered with skepticism. In particular, his claim that two-party talks about the nomination strategy were commonplace and the 'currency of the empire & # 39; in judicial battles led to a resistance of former senior Democratic staff members in committee. They said that was by no means the case during the heated battles about nominees in the first years of the Bush administration.
"That is simply not correct when it comes to judicial nomination fights," said Kristine Lucius, a former counselor of Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and a high-ranking member of the committee. "There was nothing normal about this episode."
The computer breach – and the potential benefit to the then Bush administration – is particularly raw, with some Democrats in the panel. Judge Kavanaugh's first confirmation hearing before the appeals court came in April 2004, about a month after the release of a Senate investigation into the incident. Democrats believe Judge Kavanaugh may not have survived that review if the documents now available were seen then.
Both Justice Thomas and Justice Gorsuch survived cursory accusations of their behavior when the confirmation process entered the later stages and eventually was placed at the Supreme Court. Unless more accusations pile up against Judge Kavanaugh, he seems likely to join them quickly.