Chicago Council of Lawyers Supplemental Comments on Judge Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Source: Common Dreams)
CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—October 4, 2018
Contact: Malcolm Rich

The Chicago Council of Lawyers issued its Supreme Court Nominee Report: Judge Brett Kavanaugh on August 31, 2018, days before Judge Kavanaugh sat before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee for a week of testimony on his judicial record, his judicial philosophy, and his respect for the distinctively American innovation of the independent judiciary. In his opening remarks, Judge Kavanaugh stated:

A good judge must be an umpire-a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy. . . . The Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution. The Justices on the Supreme Court do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. They do not caucus in separate rooms.

And through multiple responses to both written and oral questioning, Judge Kavanaugh repeated his commitment to impartiality and the appearance of impartiality, promising to “refrain from making commitments to members of the political branches” and declining to “comment[] on current events and political controversies.” Judge Kavanaugh even went so far as to represent that “as a judge, [he] no longer vote[s] in elections.”

Since Judge Kavanaugh’s first week of testimony, multiple credible allegations of misconduct have been made public for the first time, including specific allegations that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when they were both in high school and Deborah Ramirez when they were both freshmen at Yale. Judge Kavanaugh also faces allegations of excessive use and abuse of alcohol during multiple stages of his teenage and young adult years.

These allegations alone are, at minimum, disturbing. Furthermore, Judge Kavanaugh’s denials-even if made in good faith-have revealed through their rhetoric the truth of the Council’s reservations about his potential confirmation to the United States Supreme Court: In twelve years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, “Judge Kavanaugh has approached his role as a judge not as a neutral arbiter of disputes, but as an activist who advances the law toward particular outcomes.”

In his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, in answer to the serious allegations leveled against him, Judge Kavanaugh made a mockery of his nonpartisan commitments. Without a hint of humility as to his own shortcomings, Judge Kavanaugh responded to the allegations-corroborated by statements years older than his nascent candidacy to sit on the Supreme Court-as follows:

This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. And millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.

This statement, followed closely by what appeared to be a thinly veiled threat that “what goes around comes around,” is inimical to the judicial role.

No matter the provocation, these statements are disqualifying for a judge to be promoted to our nation’s highest court. Judge Kavanaugh’s partisan reaction to allegations of misconduct stokes legitimate fear that he is constitutionally unfit to serve as a neutral and impartial arbiter for all litigants equally under law.