Bench Memos

Borking Kavanaugh

Today the New York Times risibly refers to Brett Kavanaugh as “An Unqualified Judicial Nominee”—and that’s just in the headline of the paper’s smear editorial against his nomination to the D.C. Circuit. Taking its cue from Sen. Reid (see Ed Whelan’s post below), the Times calls Kavanaugh a “young lawyer with paltry courtroom experience.” Nonsense repeated is still nonsense. The real point of the newspaper’s opposition, of course, as the rest of its editorial makes clear, is to take revenge for Kavanaugh’s having been part of Kenneth Starr’s investigative team during the Clinton imbroglio.

Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post, Charles Babington reports on the brewing disputes over judicial nominations in the Senate, and notes in passing that Kavanaugh has been rated by the ABA three times. The first two times a majority of the ABA’s panel rated him “well qualified,” while a minority rated him “qualified.” This year, on the third rating, a majority of the panel rated Kavanaugh “qualified,” while a minority rated him “well qualified.” For the Democrats and the Times I suppose that’s progress of a sort. If they keep Kavanaugh tied up in the Senate for another ten years, they might convince one ABA panellist to rate him “unqualified,” in agreement with the Times. But at least they won’t be able to carp about his “youth” any longer.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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