Seventy-two of Kennedy’s former law clerks: Kavanaugh “would be a fair-minded and conscientious successor to Justice Kennedy.”
President Trump, who has already impacted the U.S. Supreme Court with one appointment since taking office, now has the opportunity to shift it towards a more conservative majority. Justice Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27th and it became effective July 31.
Kennedy is commonly referred to as the swing vote and has determined the outcome of numerous 5-4 decisions.
Former Kennedy law clerk, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, was announced as Trump’s pick to fill the empty seat. In the nationally televised July 9 announcement, Trump praised Kavanaugh’s “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.”
Providing a glimpse into his qualifications, Trump continued: “A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh currently teaches at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown… For the last 12 years, he has served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals… authoring opinions which have been widely admired… Among those opinions are more than a dozen that the Supreme Court has adopted as the law of the land.”
Seventy-two of Kennedy’s former law clerks expressed their conviction that Kavanaugh “would be a fair-minded and conscientious successor to Justice Kennedy.”
Nearly three dozen of Kavanaugh’s former law clerks (all whose employment does not prohibit from speaking out) explained his work ethic as one that “flows from a fundamental humility”: “…in each case, large or small, he masters every detail and rereads every precedent. He listens carefully to the views of his colleagues and clerks, even – indeed, especially – when they differ from his own. He drafts opinions painstakingly, writing and rewriting until he is satisfied each opinion is clear and well-reasoned, and can be understood not only by lawyers but by the parties and the public… Judge Kavanaugh never assumes he knows the answers in advance and never takes for granted that his view of the law will prevail…”
Kavanaugh has also received the praise of a number of Yale Law School faculty, over 200 current students and alumni of Yale Law School, eighty of his former Harvard students, and others.
Organizations supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation include the pro-life March for Life and Americans United for Life, religious liberty advocates Alliance Defending Freedom and First Liberty Institute, and others.
Kelly Shackleford, CEO of First Liberty Institute, the nation’s largest organization exclusively dedicated to religious liberty litigation, said “my first-hand experience working with Brett Kavanaugh on a religious liberty case at the U.S. Supreme Court has taught me we can trust Judge Kavanaugh with the defense of our first and most sacred right.”
While the confirmation process has become an intense partisan battle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) expects to confirm Kavanaugh to the Court before the Court’s next term begins on Oct. 1. The confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin on Sept. 4 and should last three to four days.