As the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court nears, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tells WW his hopes to obtain more than 100,000 documents about the judge's record withheld by the Trump administration are dwindling.
A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to respond to Merkley's request by Friday afternoon—but a procedural vote to close floor debate on the nominee could happen as early as 10:30 am Friday, Merkley says. And even if the judge ordered the president to release the records, the administration could appeal the case, further delaying the process while the Senate votes anyway.
"This is a dark moment for America," he says. "[It's] the first time in history that a president has intervened in a massive way by preventing the Senate from reviewing records of a nominee… [It] deeply compromises the check that the Senate is supposed to exert over a nominee."
Meanwhile in downtown Portland, about 150 protesters gathered in front of the Multnomah County Courthouse to protest Kavanaugh.
Thirty hours after the vote to close debate, the full Senate will take its final vote to confirm or deny Kavanaugh.
Merkley says he plans to read letters from his constituents sharing stories about sexual assault and harassment they endured.
"So many women have been reliving experiences they had," he says. "This is deeply deeply difficult moment in which men have had a chance to learn something. It's a very powerful opportunity for us to respect the experiences women are sharing."
Despite Democrats' resistance, numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and a growing body of evidence that suggests Kavanaugh lied about his history of drinking and his behavior in high school and college, Republicans can likely still confirm the nominee. Three Republican Senators have not yet publicly decided their votes: Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
"I do compliment that Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski are struggling to find a position of integrity on this," Merkley says. "[But] I'm not optimistic, because they are under enormous pressure to confirm."