The Trump administration will hold back more than 100,000 pages of documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's service because the White House and the Department of Justice have determined they are protected by constitutional privilege, according to a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Most independent Supreme Court analysts predict, based on hundreds of decisions that Kavanaugh has written at the appellate court level, that Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would most often side with conservatives, rather than provide the swing vote that Kennedy often did on key issues favoring liberal interpretations of US law.
Before serving in the Bush White House, Kavanaugh had been a key deputy to Independent Counsel Ken Starr and advocated for tough questioning of President Bill Clinton about his sexual encounters with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The judge was deeply skeptical of Congress' ability to impose restrictions, calling limits on outside groups "blatantly unconstitutional" - a position the Supreme Court eventually took as well when it struck down the restrictions.
The White House directed them not to hand them over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of Bush's lawyers said in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will host the hearings scheduled to start on Tuesday.
"President Trump's decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100,000 pages of Judge Kavanaugh's records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of Supreme Court nominations, it has all the makings of a cover up", he said in a statement.
It's a time Democrats say is key in giving context to his time as a partisan Republican. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Judiciary Committee. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, raised concerns over more than 140,000 pages of material that have been made available to senators but not to the public. They've exerted their executive power - 148,000 documents that I've seen, that you can not see, because they won't allow us to make them public.
The constitutional limits of executive power - including whether presidents must comply with federal subpoenas or if they can be called to testify or be indicted - have yet to be settled by the high court, making Kavanaugh's views on the matter a point of keen interest for Democrats. "So I can't even tell you about them right now on this show", Klobuchar said.
"I think it's much more powerful if we go in there and ask the questions".
Because of the razor-thin margin in the Senate, the focus is on the 10 Democrats running for re-election in 2018 in states that Trump won just two years ago.
There are also two Republican senators on the radar: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME, both of whom are pro-choice.