NARAL’s disparaging personal attack on Kavanaugh that he is a “frat-boy” and that his nomination is “political payback” is confirmation that attempts to dispute Judge Kavanaugh’s credentials are not available.
The notion that Kavanaugh’s nomination is “political payback” is refuted by the fact that Kavanaugh served as staff secretary to President Bush, and President Trump has been a critic of President Bush 41 and President Bush 43. So, the reality is that President Trump likely overlooked Kavanaugh‘s service with the Bush Administration in nominating him.
The personal attacks cannot cloud Kavanaugh’s public record as a judge.
Kavanaugh has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 2006, and an influential one.
His 12-year service on the D.C. Circuit alone is, alone, a significant credential, since that court is often referred to as the second most important court in the country because it deals with fundamental legal issues involving the federal government and the three branches of government.
A long line of Supreme Court Justices were formerly judges on the D.C. Circuit: including Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Clarence Thomas. (President Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, is now Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit.)
During those 12 years, Kavanaugh has been a prodigious judge, writing 307 opinions. (By comparison, Chief Justice John Roberts served on the D.C. Circuit for 2 years and wrote 49 opinions before his nomination to the Supreme Court.)
During his 12 years, Kavanaugh has addressed issues of executive power, immigration, free speech, campaign finance, religious freedom, environmental regulation, the Second Amendment, and the law of federal agencies that have increasingly impacted the life of every citizen. These have prepared him well to do the work of a Supreme Court justice.
Influential law professor, Akhil Reed Amar, from Yale Law School, recently lauded Kavanaugh’s credentials in a July 10 op-ed in the New York Times, entitled “A Liberal’s Case for Kavanaugh.” Amar wrote: “it is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge Kavanaugh. He…commands wide and deep respect among scholars, lawyers and jurists.”
As Amar wrote, Kavanaugh has influenced the Supreme Court: “Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; great ones influence and help steer it. Several of Judge Kavanaugh’s most important ideas and arguments — such as his powerful defense of presidential authority to oversee federal bureaucrats and his skepticism about newfangled attacks on the property rights of criminal defendants — have found their way into Supreme Court opinions.”
In addition, Kavanaugh has influenced the Supreme Court through the quality of the training he has given his law clerks: “Except for Judge Garland, no one has sent more of his law clerks to clerk for the justices of the Supreme Court than Judge Kavanaugh has. And his clerks have clerked for justices across the ideological spectrum,” Amar notes.
Calling him “a superb nominee,” Amar concluded that Kavanaugh should get “the ninetysomething votes… he deserves” from the Senate.
In the face of such a public record, personal attacks against Judge Kavanaugh should fail.