As a Reagan Justice Department official, Kuhl filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn the important and well-settled doctrine of associational standing, which allows organizations like a labor union, the NAACP and the American Conservative Union to file lawsuits on behalf of their members. The doctrine has been extremely important in helping individuals seek justice in the courts, and the Court rejected Kuhl’s argument.
At her confirmation hearing, Kuhl denied that her name had been on the brief in the case and asserted that the government’s position had been set before she became involved. The testimony was unquestionably at odds with the facts, as Kuhl later admitted in a letter to Sen. Hatch. Thanks in part to her inaccurate testimony, Kuhl has not answered senators’ fundamental concerns about the “frontal attack” on associational standing that her own supervisor says she launched in this case.
The PFAW report also notes that Kuhl erroneously testified that she was merely “defending a winning argument in the court below,” when in fact Kuhl’s Supreme Court brief was the first time the government had taken the position that the doctrine of associational standing should be overturned. Indeed, both the extreme position Kuhl advocated and its late introduction into the case by the government drew the opposition of numerous organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce and the American Medical Association.