Sen. Cory Booker 'knowingly violates' rules to publish confidential Kavanaugh documents

Sen. Cory Booker at Kavanaugh confirmation hearing
(Image credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Senate Democrats broke protocol to release documents on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Thursday sent out an email with 12 pages of documents that were "committee confidential" after announcing during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that he found it unacceptable that they were not public. He said he was "knowingly violating the rules" in order to release them.

"I am right now, before your process is finished, I am going to release the email about racial profiling, and I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate," Booker said at the confirmation hearing.

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The documents included email discussions between Kavanaugh and government officials about racial inequality. In one email, Kavanaugh said the "desire to remedy societal discrimination is not a compelling interest" in creating an Office of Native American Affairs within the Small Business Administration. He also discussed an "interim" solution to racial profiling concerns at airports, suggesting that racial profiling may be justified in the short term to prevent terrorism before the government could develop a "race-neutral" strategy.

Booker's fellow Democrats, such as Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), expressed support for the move, also suggesting they might release more "committee confidential" documents. Republican Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Booker's choice to break the rules was "conduct unbecoming of a senator," threatening to bring charges against him for the violation. Booker challenged him to "bring the charges. Bring it." Summer Meza

Update 1:50 p.m. ET: Bill Burck, the lawyer who handles former President George W. Bush's public records, released a statement Thursday saying that he was "surprised to learn about [Booker's] histrionics" because his team, which oversaw the review of Kavanaugh's documents, "had already told [Booker] he could use the documents publicly." He added: "We have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public." Read his full statement here.

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Summer Meza

Summer is news editor at, and has previously written for Newsweek and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Santa Clara University, she now lives in New York with two cats.