Senator Chuck Grassley. (file photo)

Confirmation hearings are underway this morning on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley chairs. Grassley, a Republican, says this has been “the most transparent review process in recent memory” and he’s prepared for some 17 hours of testimony over the next four days.

“To date, the committee has received more than 480,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s executive branch records,” Grassley says. “That’s more than the last five nominees to the Supreme Court combined.” Grassley says his colleagues on the committee have more than 300 judicial opinions from Kavanaugh, in addition to a wealth of documents from his academic writings, speeches and other records on which to form an opinion.

“The best way to know what kind of justice the nominee will be is to look at the kind of judge that person has been,” Grassley says, “so 307 judicial opinions ought to give us a pretty good background to judge if he should be on the Supreme Court.” President Trump has ordered more than 100-thousand pages of Kavanaugh’s writings withheld, which has prompted criticism from Democrats who say that makes it appear like there’s something to hide. Grassley disagrees.

“Some of those materials could be available if any senator wanted some of them,” Grassley says. “We had Senator (Amy) Klobuchar, a Democrat of Minnesota, ask for four documents. She received those documents so she can use them as a basis for questioning.” Grassley says Klobuchar is the only senator who’s requested any of the withheld documents to be released.

“The thing to consider here is that the entire two months since his nomination has been talked about process and documents,” Grassley says. “Nobody is finding fault with his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court.” The 53-year-old Kavanaugh’s resume includes a law degree from Yale and 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia’s Circuit Court.