by Taylor Roth
On July 9, President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court of the United States.
The announcement was televised across America from the White House. The President was joined on stage by the Kavanaugh family.
“What matters is not a judge’s personal views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the constitution require,” the President said. “I am pleased to say I have found, without a doubt, such a person.”
Throughout the duration of the announcement, protesters gathered outside of the U.S. Supreme Court to express their distaste for Kavanaugh’s nomination. Many of the protesters echoed pro-abortion chants and called for the protection of Roe v. Wade. These chants, however, were met by pro-life advocates who championed the possibility of having another originalist on the highest court.
The President’s nomination is undoubtedly a critical decision that, if Kavanaugh is approved, could heavily impact our court system for decades to come. Below are five pieces of information to know about Judge Kavanaugh and his judicial record:
1 – Early Life and Education
Kavanaugh (53) was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Bethesda, Maryland. He earned both his Bachelor’s Degree and J.D. from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Kavanaugh’s legal involvement began when he clerked for Judge Walter King Stapleton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Following this, Kavanaugh continued clerking for Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Kavanaugh went on to complete a fellowship with Ken Starr, then the Solicitor General of the United States, before clerking for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
2 – Serving the George W. Bush Administration
Following George W. Bush’s election in 2001, Kavanaugh worked for two years as the President’s Senior Associate Counsel and Associate Counsel.
In 2003, Kavanaugh served as Assistant to President Bush and White House Staff Secretary. Through these positions, Kavanaugh coordinated documents and messages that were sent to the President. He also assisted in sharing information that was sent by the President.
3 – Serving on the D.C. Circuit
George W. Bush nominated Kavanaugh to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on July 25, 2003. However, Kavanaugh’s nomination was stalled in the Senate for almost three years.
Kavanaugh was approved after the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary decided to confirm on a 10-8 party-line vote in May of 2006. He was confirmed by a vote of 57-36.
On June 1, 2006, Kavanaugh was sworn in by Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Rose Garden at the White House.
4 – Opinions on Abortion
During his confirmation hearing to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh said that, under stare decisis, he considered Roe v. Wade to be binding. Because of this, he said that he would uphold the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. Although Kavanaugh said this during his hearing for confirmation, he has a history of ruling for abortion restrictions.
The Susan B. Anthony List, a leading pro-life organization, has recently praised Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“President Trump has made another outstanding choice in nominating Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy,” said the group in a recent press release.
The Susan B. Anthony List expressed its approval of Justice Kavanaugh’s conclusion in Garza v. Hargan, where Kavanaugh rejected the assertion that illegal immigrant minors in U.S. custody should have the right to abortion.
5 – Personal Life
Kavanaugh is a practicing Catholic and lectors at his Washington, D.C. church. Previously, he has volunteered to help feed the homeless and tutor children at a Catholic school in Washington.
Kavanaugh met his wife in 2001, when she was serving as a personal secretary to George W. Bush. Together, they have two children.
Justice Kavanaugh was one of only four circuit judges to receive a personal 45-minute interview with the President, following Justice Kennedy’s announcement. Republicans have stated that they are hoping to get Kavanaugh approved, ideally before the next Supreme Court session begins in October.
Taylor Roth is a 2018 Summer Fellow.