Partisan Ideologue Brett Kavanaugh Underqualified and Unfit for Nation’s Second Most Powerful Court

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled an April 27 confirmation hearing on the nomination of Starr Report co-author Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In a report released today, People For the American Way urges senators to reject the nomination.

The PFAW report documents that Kavanaugh’s legal career has been almost entirely devoted to right-wing partisan and ideological pursuits that raise deeply troubling questions about the impact he could have on Americans’ rights and freedoms as an appeals court judge. The report also notes that his legal resume “pales in comparison” to other D.C. Circuit nominees.

“A lifetime appointment to a powerful federal appellate court should not be a reward for a highly partisan political warrior,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “This nomination is more evidence that the White House views the nomination process as a political weapon rather than a means to getting excellent mainstream judges on the appeals courts. President Bush is committed to political confrontation rather than bipartisan consultation and compromise.”

The PFAW report examines:

  • Kavanaugh’s key role in the Bush Administration’s nomination of far-right ideologues to positions on the federal appeals courts.
  • Kavanaugh’s coauthorship of the Starr Report’s section on grounds for impeachment, an ideological document that even some conservative legal commentators have criticized.
  • Kavanaugh’s attacks on executive privilege as a Starr protégé and, in contrast, his leading role in developing and defending the Bush Administration’s unprecedented and excessive claims to executive branch secrecy.
  • Kavanaugh’s relative inexperience, particularly compared with previous nominees to the important D.C. Circuit. For example, of the ten cases he reported as his “most significant,” in two he did nothing more than file friend of the court briefs. In one case, Kavanaugh filed a brief before the Supreme Court arguing for a ruling that would have left public school students vulnerable to a range of coercive religious practices. Kavanaugh’s position was rejected by the Court 6-3.

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