Carolyn Kuhl’s Hearing Strengthened the Case Against Her Confirmation


As the foregoing makes clear, Kuhl’s testimony at her confirmation hearing raised serious credibility concerns in addition to the other significant concerns already raised by her record. As the New York Times recently explained:

Carolyn Kuhl . . . seems to have undergone a classic confirmation conversion. As a lawyer and as a California state court judge, she advocated objectionable positions on civil rights, abortion and privacy. But at her confirmation hearings, she backpedaled furiously. Her testimony may have been tactically shrewd, but it failed to allay serious concerns about how she would perform as a judge. The Senate should not confirm her. . .

Under questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Kuhl repeatedly retracted or minimized her positions. . . Judge Kuhl’s many shifts are suspect because of their timing. It is also clear, given this administration’s track record, that she was chosen precisely because of the actions she now seeks to distance herself from. The White House can tell from her record that she shares its conservative agenda, including opposition to abortion rights and skepticism about civil rights. It is unlikely that when she spoke with the administration she was as quick to renounce her past as she was before the Senate.

“Another Unworthy Judicial Nominee,” The New York Times (Apr. 24, 2003).

As documented here and in our initial report opposing Kuhl’s confirmation, Kuhl’s record simply does not support giving her a lifetime appointment to the federal court of appeals, the court of last resort for most Americans. Far from meeting the burden of demonstrating a record of commitment to “protecting the rights of ordinary Americans” and to “the progress made on civil rights, women’s rights and individual liberties” — important criteria for confirmation — Kuhl has tried to turn back the clock on these significant matters. Her hearing and her subsequent written answers to Senators’ questions served to reinforce this conclusion. The Senate Judiciary Committee should reject Carolyn Kuhl’s confirmation.

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