National Archives News

National Archives Records Related to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

**Page updated October 23, 2019

The mission of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is to provide access to the permanent records of the Federal Government, which include Presidential records from NARA’s Presidential Libraries.

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9, 2018. NARA has permanent records related to Judge Kavanaugh because he served in the White House Counsel's Office and the White House Office of the Staff Secretary under the administration of President George W. Bush, and he also served as an Associate Independent Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr during the administration of President William J. Clinton.

NARA is working on an expedited basis to release prioritized records related to Judge Kavanaugh, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act, the Federal Records Act, and the Freedom of Information Act, just as we have done with previous Supreme Court nominees. NARA holds several million pages of records related to Judge Kavanaugh, which is significantly more than for prior Supreme Court nominees who worked in the White House—for example, NARA processed and released roughly 70,000 pages on Justice Roberts and 170,000 pages on Justice Kagan.


NARA archivists have completed the review of Justice Kavanaugh's records from his work in George W. Bush's White House Counsel's Office as well as a small portion of records from his work as President Bush's Staff Secretary. As the PRA-required notification process ends, the records that can be made publicly available under the PRA will be released on NARA’s George W. Bush Presidential Library's website,    The following Presidential records have been released to date:

  • On October 22, 2019, the Library released 121 emails in whole and seven emails in part  in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).  
  • On October 8, 2019, the Library released 105 emails in whole and five emails in part in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from Senator Richard Blumenthal and several colleagues.
  • On September 23, 2019, the Library released 156 emails in whole and six emails in part  in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
  • On September 9, 2019, the Library released 188 emails in whole and seven emails in part in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from Senator Richard Blumenthal and several colleagues.
  • On August 30, 2019, the Library released 148 emails in whole and 45 emails in part  in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
  • On July 29, 2019, the Library released 191 emails in whole and 59 emails in part  in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
  • On May 20, 2019, the Library released 46,535 emails in whole and 3,134 emails in part. This opening constitutes all of the email records received by Justice Kavanaugh when he worked in the White House Counsel’s Office, including those on which he has carbon copied or blind carbon copies.  Also released were 71 emails in whole and five emails in part written by Justice Kavanaugh during his time in the White House Counsel's Office.  With these email releases NARA has now completed its review of all of Justice Kavanaugh's textual records and email he sent or received as an Associate and Senior Associate White House Counsel.
  • On May 16, 2019, the Library released 134 emails in whole and 21 emails in part  in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
  • On April 23, 2019, the Library released 432 emails in whole and 31 emails in part in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from Senator Richard Blumenthal and several colleagues. 
  • On April 17, 2019 the Library released 83 emails in whole and 30 emails in part in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
  • On April 4, 2019, the Library released 103 emails in whole and 11 emails in part in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from Senator Richard Blumenthal and several colleagues. 
  • On March 12, 2019, the Library released 107 emails in whole and 16 emails in part in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from Senator Richard Blumenthal and several colleagues.
  • On February 22, 2019, the Library released approximately 47,500 pages in whole or in part, which is the totality of all records in Justice Kavanaugh's White House Counsel's Office textual files.
  • On February 11, 2019, the Library released 12,166 emails in whole and 627 emails in part.  Along with the 6,610 emails released in whole and 307 emails released in part on December 18, 2018, these two openings constitute all of the email records written by Justice Kavanaugh when he worked in the White House Counsel’s Office.  The Library also posted four emails totaling 20 pages released in part in response to a FOIA request and lawsuit from Senator Richard Blumenthal and several colleagues.
  • On August 29, 2018, the George W. Bush Library released records related to Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Notifications of our intent to release Presidential records concerning Kavanaugh can be found in NARA's FOIA Electronic Reading Room.  On September 17 and 18, 2018, two FOIA lawsuits were filed against NARA for release of Presidential records at the George W. Bush Presidential Library; NARA is represented by the Department of Justice in these cases, and we cannot comment on matters that are the subject of ongoing litigation.

NARA has also released related records from the Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) Starr on the National Archives website, which were made public on August 6, 2018, August 10, 2018, August 20, 2018, and September 24, 2018.

Additionally, correspondence between NARA and the Senate Judiciary Committee related to the overall process can be found in NARA's FOIA Electronic Reading Room. The most recent correspondence was on September 21, 2018. 

NARA issued a news item on the Kavanaugh records on August 15, 2018, and the Archivist of the United States posted a blog on this topic on August 27, 2018


Below is a general description of the bodies of records in NARA’s holdings related to Judge Kavanaugh. Please note that because the vast majority of these records have not been reviewed for release, these counts are only rough approximations, and could include non-responsive, non-record, and duplicate materials. In addition, these estimates do not include classified national security information and emails in which Kavanaugh is only mentioned. Note also that NARA roughly estimates that email records in these collections (which frequently include attachments) average approximately five pages per email:

  • Presidential Records:
    • Nomination records: 3,800 pages
    • White House Counsel records:
      • Paper files:  60,000 pages
      • Emails Kavanaugh sent, received, or was copied or blind copied on:  170,000 files
    • Staff Secretary records:
      • Paper files:  560,000 pages
      • Emails Kavanaugh sent, received, or was copied or blind copied on:  475,000 files
         
  • Federal Records:
    • Office of Independent Counsel Starr: 
      • Paper files: 20,000 pages
Top