Bench Memos

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Brett Kavanaugh

As much of the nation gets its introduction to Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been nominated to be the 114th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, here are eight aspects of his background you might not have been aware of:

  1. Judge Kavanaugh has served for 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is widely considered the second most significant court in the nation. Three current justices of the Supreme Court—John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Clarence Thomas—served there prior to their elevation, as did former justices Warren Burger and Antonin Scalia.
  2. Both of Judge Kavanaugh’s parents attended law school while he was growing up, graduating when he was 13 years old. His father had attended law school at night while working full time. His mother went on to serve as a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge in Maryland.
  3. Judge Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch both attended the same high school, and both clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy during the same Supreme Court term.
  4. On at least 13 occasions, the Supreme Court has adopted positions that Judge Kavanaugh previously took in his opinions. On nine of those occasions, the Court vindicated Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinions.
  5. Judge Kavanaugh has spent most of his career serving the public and additionally volunteers to serve meals to the homeless, tutor at an elementary school, and coach his daughter’s basketball team.
  6. Judge Kavanaugh is an avid runner who has run the Boston Marathon twice in the last decade, finishing in 2010 in under four hours.
  7. Judge Kavanaugh ranks second among sitting judges for the number of law clerks who have gone on to clerk for the Supreme Court. Eight of the nine justices of the current Court (all but Ginsburg) have hired Kavanaugh clerks, as have former Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Scalia, and David Souter.
  8. Judge Kavanaugh has had a total of 48 law clerks over his 12 years of service on the D.C. Circuit. Twenty-five of them were women. In 2014, all four of his clerks were women—a first for any judge on the D.C. Circuit. Reacting to his nomination to the Supreme Court, all of his former clerks who are permitted by their employment to do so submitted a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee attesting to Judge Kavanaugh’s “strength of character, generosity of spirit, intellectual capacity, and unwavering care for his family, friends, colleagues, and us, his law clerks.”
Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

Most Popular

U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More
Books

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More
Education

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More