The Family Research Council (FRC), one of the leading religious right groups, sent an e-mail alert to supporters today concerning the president's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Writes FRC spokesperson Tony Perkins:
When the Senate "Gang of 14" made their judicial deal last week conservatives had little to celebrate beyond a guaranteed up-or-down vote on three outstanding judges. The disastrous "compromise" did not promise a fair up-or-down vote on ALL the judges though, just a select few. One nominee whom the "Gang" threw overboard is Brett Kavanaugh, President Bush's choice for to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Perkins hopes supporters of the religious right will contact Congress and demand that Kavanaugh be placed on the court.
There are plenty of good reasons why senators should exercise their right to filibuster this nomination. People for the American gives three solid reasons why Kavanaugh should be opposed:
1. Strong Views or Strong Partisanship?
Kavanaugh has shown a stunning willingness to twist and shift legal theories and philosophies to best serve partisan interests. During the Clinton administration, Kavanaugh spent five years as part of Kenneth Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel, where one of his roles was to gain unprecedented access to the records of the President of the United States. In his role in the Bush administration, however, Kavanaugh seems to have radically changed his views on presidential privilege, and has worked diligently to ensure that the current President works with an unprecedented ability to keep presidential actions and records secret from Congress and the public. As summed up by The Washington Post, “within a few years, Kavanaugh’s work has gone from being described as ‘a serious blow to the presidency,’ as Clinton lawyer Lloyd Cutter put it, to promoting an ‘imperial presidency,’ as Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) put it.” 1
2. The Extremist Who Picked the Extremists
As Associate Counsel to the President from 2001-2003, Kavanaugh served as White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez’s “main deputy on the subject” of judicial nominees.2 In particular, according to several accounts, Kavanaugh personally “coordinated” the Administration’s extremely controversial and unsuccessful nominations of right-wing extremist Priscilla Owen to the Fifth Circuit and Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit.3 Kavanaugh’s active role in picking such divisive nominees raises serious concerns about his own judicial temperment.
3. Troubling Lack of Experience
A 1990 graduate of Yale Law School, Mr. Kavanaugh’s legal resume is thin at best. When asked in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire to state the number of cases he has tried to verdict or judgement, he replied “[n]one, as I have not been a trial lawyer.”4 Of the 22 judges appointed to the D.C. Circuit since the Nixon administration, only one – his own mentor Keneth Starr – had less legal experience at the time of his appointment than Kavanaugh.
Click here to read their full report.
Kavanaugh is not qualified to sit on any federal court. He lacks the judicial experience for this position and his extremist views on the role of the Constitution – as evidenced in part by the role he played as Ken Starr’s sidekick during the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton (charges he was found innocent of by the senate) – shows a fundamental lack of respect for the law and due process. His nomination should either be withdrawn by the president or filibustered by the senate.
1 Dana Millbank, Whitewater Lawyer Turns Proponent of Presidential Power, Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2002; Jack Newfield, More Bad Judges, The Nation, Jan. 6, 2004.
2 Jeffrey Toobin, Advice and Dissent, The New Yorker, May 26, 2003.
4 Answers to Senate Judiciary Committee Question 17(c)(4).