Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Judge Kavanaugh Clerks Laud Nomination to Supreme Court

Jul 11, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh Clerks Laud Nomination to Supreme Court

“Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications to join the Supreme Court are beyond question.”

 

WASHINGTONFollowing the announcement of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve as Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of the judge’s former clerks from across the political spectrum roundly endorsed Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

In their letter, 34 of Judge Kavanaugh’s former clerks extolled his character, underscored his dedication to public service and enumerated his substantial qualifications. They described in detail why Judge Kavanaugh is well-suited to serve on the Supreme Court based on their own firsthand experience with the nominee spanning many years. They wrote:

“Our ranks include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. But we are united in this: our admiration and fondness for Judge Kavanaugh run deep. For each of us – and this letter is signed by every single one of Judge Kavanaugh’s clerks not prohibited by their current or pending employment from signing – it was a tremendous stroke of luck to work for and be mentored by a person of his strength of character, generosity of spirit, intellectual capacity, and unwavering care for his family, friends, colleagues, and us, his law clerks.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley spoke on the Senate floor about the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, quoting directly from this letter. Grassley also met with the nominee, where the two spoke about the confirmation process and the judge’s record and judicial philosophy.

Full text of the letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member follows.

 

July 9, 2018

 

The Honorable Chuck Grassley, Chairman

Committee on the Judiciary

United States Senate

135 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member

Committee on the Judiciary

United States Senate

331 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:

 

Each of us has had the privilege of clerking for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. We have gone different ways since then; among us are prosecutors, professors, state and federal public officials, and attorneys at private law firms, corporations, and non-profits. Our views on politics, on many of the important legal issues faced by the Supreme Court, and on judicial philosophy, are diverse. Our ranks include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. But we are united in this: our admiration and fondness for Judge Kavanaugh run deep. For each of us – and this letter is signed by every single one of Judge Kavanaugh’s clerks not prohibited by their current or pending employment from signing – it was a tremendous stroke of luck to work for and be mentored by a person of his strength of character, generosity of spirit, intellectual capacity, and unwavering care for his family, friends, colleagues, and us, his law clerks.

Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications to join the Supreme Court are beyond question. The product of Catholic elementary and high schools in Maryland, he was educated at Yale College and Yale Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who thereafter became a lifelong mentor for Judge Kavanaugh. He then devoted the vast majority of his legal career to public service, giving up a lucrative partnership at Kirkland & Ellis for a senior White House staff position. Judge Kavanaugh has taught courses at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, and Georgetown University Law Center on the Supreme Court, constitutional interpretation, and the separation of powers. Finally, and most importantly, for the past twelve years he has served as a judge on the appellate court that most often confronts difficult legal questions akin to those decided by the Supreme Court.

It is in his role as a judge on the D.C. Circuit that we know Judge Kavanaugh best. During his time on the D.C. Circuit, Judge Kavanaugh has come to work every day dedicated to engaging in the hard work of judging. We never once saw him take a shortcut, treat a case as unimportant, or search for an easy answer. Instead, 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. We saw time and again that this work ethic flows from a fundamental humility. Judge Kavanaugh never assumes he knows the answers in advance and never takes for granted that his view of the law will prevail.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Judge Kavanaugh has been a role model to us personally as well as professionally. He is unfailingly warm and gracious with his colleagues no matter how strongly they disagree about a case, and he is well-liked and respected by judges and lawyers across the ideological spectrum as a result. He is grounded and kind. Judge Kavanaugh is a dedicated husband and father to two girls, Liza and Margaret, and an enthusiastic coach of both their youth basketball teams. He has a great sense of humor and an easy laugh. (Some of us are funny, most of us are not, and yet he laughs at all our jokes.) Judge Kavanaugh is an avid Nationals fan, and there is no better companion for a beer and a baseball game. And somehow, he always makes time for us, his law clerks. He makes it to every wedding, answers every career question, and gives unflinchingly honest advice. That advice often boils down to the same habits we saw him practice in chambers every day: Shoot straight, be careful and brave, work as hard as you possibly can, and then work a little harder.

These qualities have made Judge Kavanaugh a wonderful mentor, boss, and friend to all of us. With them, he would ably and conscientiously serve his country as a Supreme Court Justice.

Sincerely,

Amit Agarwal (2006-07)

Philip Alito (2012-13)

John Bash (2006-07)

Zina Bash (2007-08)

Rakim Brooks (2017-18)

Kathryn Cherry (2013-14)

Marguerite Colson (2015-16)

Will Dreher (2013-14)

Gregory Dubinsky (2012-13)

Bridget Fahey (2014-15)

Morgan Goodspeed (2012-13)

Gillian Grossman (2014-15)

Eric Hansford (2011-12)

Zac Hudson (2009-10)

Kim Jackson (2017-18)

Saritha Komatireddy (2009-10)

Clayton Kozinski (2017-18)

Travis Lenkner (2007-08)

Caroline Edsall Littleton (2011-12)

Julia Malkina (2011-12)

Roman Martinez (2008-09)

Jennifer Mascott (2006-07)

Luke McCloud (2013-14)

Christopher Michel (2013-14)

Sarah Pitlyk (2010-11)

Richard Re (2008-09)

Hagan Scotten (2010-11)

Indraneel Sur (2006-07)

Rebecca Taibleson (2010-11)

Caroline Van Zile (2012-13)

Justin Walker (2010-11)

Katie Wellington (2014-15)

Porter Wilkinson (2007-08)

Candice Wong (2008-09)

 

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